Captain fantastic Alan Shearer took his tally for the season to 13 in the Premiership to secure a 1-1 draw for Newcastle United at home to Liverpool.
A win for either side would have taken them into fourth place, but in the end it was honours even despite heavy Magpies pressure.
United started off brightly against the injury-ravaged Merseysiders winning two corners inside the opening two minutes the second seeing Shearer get above Emile Heskey and land his header on the roof of the net.
But it was Liverpool who stormed in front after just six minutes following some shocking defensive work from central defenders Jonathan Woodgate and Titus Bramble who went for the same ball against the diminutive Florent Sinama-Pongolle.
A long hopeful ball from the left saw the big duo collide, allowing Murphy a clear run at goal and he stabbed the ball under the despairing Shay Given.
St James' Park was stunned to silence as United struggled to find any momentum as Liverpool pulled the midfield strings and were much sharper to the ball.
Ameobi set up Speed for United's best chance after 23 minutes but the first touch of the Wales skipper on his favoured left foot was poor and Chris Kirkland blocked his effort.
It was not until the 29th minute that United managed their first shot on target and Kirkland dealt easily with a 25-yard drive from Jermaine Jenas.
Liverpool put the Newcastle goal under pressure after 37 minutes when an inswinging Murphy free-kick saw Woodgate just win the ball and head behind for a corner.
United raced straight up front and Shearer and Kieron Dyer combined to release Ameobi but he drove straight against the body of Kirkland to squander a great opportunity.
It was a vital chance for United who were constantly frustrated by the Liverpool red wall that saw a back four and five players spread across midfield.
Sir Bobby Robson sent on Nobby solano for Aaron Hughes at the break but was Liverpool who were first to show with Given saving from Sinama-Pongolle and Steven Gerrard.
Laurent Robert curled a free-kick agonisingly wide before being involved in United's equaliser just on the hour mark.
A superb ball from Dyer saw Robert sent crashing by Kirkland leaving referee Graham Poll with no option than to award a penalty though surprisingly he only booked Kirkland when a red card looked more likely.
Shearer stepped up to ram in his sixth spot of the season to move him three goals clear at the top of the Premiership scoring stakes.
It was almost all United after that and twice in a minute Shearer and Bramble had shots cleared off the line.
It ended with Kirkland denying Shearer, it was one of those days.