Newcastle United 1 Liverpool 0

Last updated : 07 March 2005 By Footymad Previewer
It was 'lucky 13' at long last for Graeme Souness after finally clinching his first managerial win over Liverpool, the club he served so loyally as a player.

With eight draws and four defeats in his previous dozen attempts, the Newcastle boss was indebted to flamboyant Frenchman Laurent Robert who drove home a stunning free-kick after 70 minutes.

In a game that saw little to do for either keeper it was always going to need one flash of brilliance or a mistake to settle the issue on the day that Alan Shearer played his 400th Premiership game.

And in front of their biggest home crowd of the season, 52,323, United kept their first clean sheet in the league since their goalless draw at West Brom in early January.

Robert's strike made it five wins in a row for United and gave them their first back-to-back Premiership wins since September.

Aaron Hughes was the only change to the Newcastle side as he came into defence for the injured Celestine Babyaro.

Rafael Benitez, looking to lift his side following their Carling Cup final defeat, handed a debut in goal to 19-year-old Scott Carson, their £750,000 signing from Leeds in January while United old boy Dietmar Hamann was missing for the Reds.

Liverpool started well and posted a seventh-minute warning when Steven Gerrard robbed Amdy Faye and saw his shot deflected wide off Jean-Alain Boumsong.

Lee Bowyer - two goals in his last two games and sent off in Liverpool's 3-1 win when the sides met at Anfield in December - fired United's first effort high and wide two minutes later.

Despite being on the back foot, the home side pushed forward midway through the first half and could easily have broken the deadlock.

A Robert corner from the right was punched out by Carson but only as far as Bowyer lurking on the edge of the area. The midfielder's shot was back-heeled by Boumsong against Sami Hyypia and Titus Bramble lashed the rebound high over the bar.

United were at their most potent from Robert's corners and on the half-hour mark Shola Ameobi met the Frenchman's centre only for Igor Biscan to force the ball away.

Ameobi then got on the end of a wonderful Stephen Carr cross from the right but could not keep his back-post header down.

United then had Faye and Robert booked within the space of two minutes after rash challenges on Biscan and Steve Finnan respectively.

Despite their superiority, there was little in terms of creativity from Liverpool until two minutes from the break when Luis Garcia shot on the turn and lifted his effort on to the roof of the net.

Robert - yet to net from open play this season - tried his luck early in the second half but pulled his shot wide from 25 yards before Garcia did likewise at the other end.

Referee Howard Webb, who had shown great leniency towards Liverpool, finally brandished yellow to Gerrard after 57 minutes for a foul on Boumsong.

Neither goalkeeper had a shot to save until the 70th minute and in the case of Carson, he was unable to keep it out.

Mauricio Pellegrino was pulled up for manhandling Shearer to the ground to win United a free-kick on the right, some 23 yards from goal. As ever, the Frenchman needed no second invitation to go for goal and fired over Carson and into the top right-hand corner, for his fourth goal of the campaign.

The issue could, and should, have been settled in the last minute when Shearer headed down for Kluivert, on for the ineffective Ameobi, to hold off Jamie Carragher and turn, only to drag his shot wide.

In time added on, Liverpool's final chance fell to Gerrard inside the box but he fired across the goal and with that miss went the visitors' hopes of a point.


JEAN-ALAIN BOUMSONG - On the day Graeme Souness enjoyed his first win in 13 attempts as a manager against Liverpool, the 13th French signing by the club was awesome. Boumsong was a tower of strength in defence and never gave Milan Baros an inch.