Newcastle United 1 Liverpool 3

Last updated : 19 March 2006 By Footymad Previewer
Liverpool kept up the pressure on second placed Manchester United with a comfortable victory at St James' Park.

Rafael Benitez's team ran out 3-1 winners against Newcastle United thanks to goals from Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard and a penalty from Djibril Cisse, while Shola Ameobi struck for the Magpies.

The win kept them just two points behind Manchester United in the Premiership, while a miserable result for Newcastle was compounded by Jean-Alain Boumsong's second-half sending off for a professional foul.

The defender is now suspended for Wednesday's FA Cup quarter-final at Chelsea.

After Crouch and Gerrard had sent the Reds into a 2-0 lead, Ameobi pulled a goal back before the break to lift the home crowd.

But Boumsong's dismissal six minutes into the second half ended any hopes of a comeback from Glenn Roeder's team, with Cisse stepping up to send the resulting penalty past Shay Given.

Liverpool's breakthrough had come early on, with Newcastle's defensive frailties - which had been exposed seven days earlier by Manchester United - again on show in front of the live TV cameras.

Jan Kromkamp sent a deep right wing cross over for Crouch and after Boumsong failed to cut out the ball, the England striker got the better of Peter Ramage to head back across goal and beyond Given.

Benitez changed his system for the trip north - employing three at the back and five in midfield, with the extra man in the middle paying dividends.

United's first chance did not come until the 22nd minute, when Alan Shearer shot wide from an Ameobi lay-off. A minute later, Jose Reina spilled a low Charles N'Zogbia shot, but the goalkeeper recovered before Ameobi could pounce.

But Roeder was still concerned about Liverpool's midfield dominance, and when N'Zogbia suffered a dead leg, he brought on Lee Bowyer to add some extra bite in the 28th minute.

Seven minutes later, however, Liverpool moved further ahead.

Cisse's cross from the right found Gerrard, whose header downwards was laid back to him by Crouch. Gerrard then struck a superb right-foot shot into the bottom corner as the Reds - 5-1 winners over Fulham in midweek - continued their hot streak in front of goal.

But Roeder's team halved the deficit by the break, Ameobi losing his marker to head a deft Scott Parker chip past Reina in the 41st minute.

Newcastle's revival proved short lived, with Boumsong the culprit, and not for the first time this season.

He bundled Crouch over in the box after the striker got a yard on him, and referee Mike Riley pointed to the spot.

Boumsong was also given his marching orders and when he eventually headed towards the dugouts, Cisse stepped up to convert the penalty.

The Liverpool striker was booked for his celebration, and seconds later was lucky not to follow Boumsong down the tunnel after appearing to gesture towards the home fans.

Roeder switched Nolberto Solano to right-back and Ramage to centre half, and brought on Kieron Dyer in the 62nd minute.

But a rusty Dyer - playing only his second comeback game - could not help his 10-man team get back into the game, and Liverpool took all three points back to Merseyside.