Newcastle United 2-0 Liverpool
Last Updated: Sun, 01 Apr 2012 16:05
A Papiss Cisse brace helped Newcastle see off ten-man Liverpool to move within two points of the Champions League places.
The Senegal striker scored in either half to take his tally to seven goals in as many matches, placing Newcastle on level points with Chelsea and within touching distance of fourth-placed Tottenham.
Liverpool were reduced to ten men in the final ten minutes when Jose Reina was sent off for head-butting Magpies defender James Perch.
It was a miserable afternoon for Kenny Dalglish's side and for Andy Carroll who was the focus of attention in the build-up to the game.
He was jeered by the home crowd from start to finish and did himself no favours when he was booked for diving after 10 minutes. The former Toon favourite rounded Tim Krul but decided to go to ground inside the box, despite being left with a simple finish into an empty net.
The Reds made the brighter start to the game and almost took the lead when Craig Bellamy's cross was touched onto the crossbar by Krul before Danny Simpson appeared to clear a goal-bound deflection off the line with his arm.
Things were not going Liverpool's way and it got worse after 19 minutes when Cisse latched onto Hatem Ben Arfa's cross and steered a fine header into the far corner.
Cisse almost got his second before the break when his glancing header shaved the post and man of the match Mike Williamson came even closer after half-time when he saw his headed effort come back off the woodwork.
There were signs of a Liverpool revival with Steven Gerrard beginning to dictate the play until Cisse doubled his and Newcastle's tally just before the hour mark. Demba Ba's pass found its way through to his strike partner who rounded the keeper at the far post and slotted the ball into an open net.
Luis Suarez almost reduced the deficit immediately when he took the ball off Krul on the edge of the Newcastle box but he was denied by some heroic defending from Perch.
Dalglish's day was rounded off on 82 minutes when Reina was dismissed. The Spaniard reacted badly after being caught late by Perch and went head-to-head with the Magpies defender, earning himself a straight red card from referee Martin Atkinson.
Jamie Carragher played the remainder of the game in goal for the visitors who had used all three substitutions but Newcastle were already firmly in the driving seat and failed to trouble the stand-in keeper.
The defeat is Liverpool's sixth in seven games and mounts pressure on Dalglish who sees his side slip 11 points behind today's opponents and stay behind Merseyside rivals Everton in the Premier League table.
The mood couldn't be more different on Tyneside. Newcastle are now dreaming of a top-four finish in Alan Pardew's first full season in charge of the club.