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This Season 
 Match Report 2000-01 - Liverpool (h)
Newcastle United  2  Liverpool  1
Date: Sunday 26th November 2000 3pm.

Venue: St. James' Park. 

Conditions: Dry.

Crowd:  51,949. 

Referee: Barry Knight. 


NUFC (normal home kit): Given, Domi, Barton, Hughes, Griffin, Bassedas (Acuna 79 mins), Dyer, Lee, Speed, Solano, Shearer.
Subs Not Used:
Harper, Lua Lua, Cordone, S.Caldwell.
Booked: Speed, Griffin, Barton.
Sent off:

LFC (normal home kit): Westerveld, Carragher, Henchoz, Babbel, Hyypia, Gerrard (McAllister 74 mins), Murphy (Smicer 57 mins), Barmby, Hamann, Heskey, Fowler.
Subs Not Used:
Arphexad, Vignal, Partridge.
Babbel, Henchoz
Sent off: None.


4 mins. Solano took advantage of some sloppy defending from Jamie Carragher and stole possession outside the Liverpool box. He took it on a few strides before sweeping it past Westerveld into the corner of the Leazes' goal.  1-0

Half time: NUFC 1 LFC 0

70 mins. Dyer was put through by a great Shearer flick-on. Still with plenty to do, young Kieron bamboozled Hyypia before tucking the ball past the advancing keeper and in off the left hand post. 2-0

78 mins. Heskey was first to the ball as a hopeful up-and-under caught out Barton and Given. Heskey went down injured as his lob fell into the empty net.  2-1

Full time: N

Match facts:

The absence of Michael Owen proved critical as we restricted the reds to only one goal against for the first time since 1997/98, and managed to beat them at home for only the second time in eight Premiership attempts.

Sunday's crowd was the largest attendance to watch a game between the two sides since the 1974 Cup Final, the largest at St.James' Park since 3.11.51 (50,132) and the largest at a club ground since 26.8.67, when we lost 6-0 at Anfield. On that day, a remarkable 51,829 squeezed into the ground. However, the attendance was still well short of the 67,362 that shoehorned into Gallowgate on 30.10.48, when Wor Jackie scored the only goal of the game.

Number of people to watch Premiership football at St.James' Park this season = 411,979.

We said:  

Uncle Bobby said: 

"I think we've played the best team that's been at St James' Park this season, so it's a massive three points. I can't take any credit away from our players, who have given a very true, fighting performance.

"You could say we rode our luck, you could say Shay Given played very well and made saves - but that's what we pay him for. I don't complain about a lucky three points because we lost here against Sunderland when I didn't think we should have done.

"We lost here against Charlton when I didn't think we should have done and we lost here against Everton when I didn't think we should have done.

"We've beaten the best team here and lost to teams who I don't think are as good. I just can't work football out at the moment. When I do, I'm going to retire.

"It's just a gigantic three points for us after Sunderland. We didn't play yesterday and dropped six places. It's just nice for us to be back in the top half of the league."

They said: 

Monsieur Houllier said this: 

''We're scoring more goals, we probably play better attacking football than last season and that was a plan I always wanted to have. The team is in a phase of progress and improvement and we play very good football at times.

''The problem is that there's an imbalance between the defending and offensive aspects of the team. If you ask me, the reason is that we're more focused on good attacking than efficient defending at times. But that's the way I want it. We just have to sort out our problem. I don't think there's a jinx or anything, it's just an awareness and a team effort that we need.'

''Sometimes there's a risk when you travel and you come back to the Premier League that you have a bit of a slow start, which was the case and unfortunately, we conceded a sloppy goal.

''But I thought for most of the game, we created more chances and probably produced more attacking football, but the ball was not going our way. Given made some good saves and I feel a bit frustrated really because when you look at the five defeats we have had, hands up, maybe Arsenal and Chelsea we didn't play to our best, but we did at Leeds, Tottenham and today.

''I feel really, really frustrated that out of those three games, we didn't get any points when I thought we probably should have got some.''


In the great tradition of those Newcastle v Liverpool "classics" so prized by Sky TV, this game had just about everything - goals, incidents, talking points.... 

The big difference of course from those Anfield examinations was that we won.

Precisely how we managed to score two goals and only concede half as many remains something of a mystery. For long periods of the game, we seemed in as much disarray as we had when the unwashed from down the road came calling the previous week.  However, when pressed, the visitors' rearguard were as guilty of losing concentration as the home side, and significantly both toon goals came as a result of direct attacks down the centre of the field.

Early indications were that it was going to be a frenetic afternoon once Solano had given United a fourth minute lead (the third time in eight home games we'd scored at this exact time - spooky) and the officials had started to exercise the patience of home fans with a succession of questionable judgments.

In a curious way the awfulness of referee and linesmen played a part in the victory, stoking the home fans up into a ferment of righteous indignation that increased the vocal backing to the team as match wore on. Suspicions that the flagwaver nearest the East Stand was a either a Brookside extra or relative of Jimmy Tarbuck seemed to be confirmed by some of the worst offside calls in living memory, and to make matters worse, he switched wings in the second half, ensuring he managed a full 90 minute shift of frustrating toon fans and players alike.

If fortune had deserted us the previous week, it was certainly looking after us today, as Given, defenders and the woodwork combined on numerous occasions to preserve our single goal advantage. Of course this just wouldn't be Newcastle if we had managed to hold on once the second goal cushion had been grabbed, and sure enough the improving Heskey ensured a coronary-inducing last twelve minutes.

While purists might draw attention to the lack of style that Newcastle displayed in their victory, I for one couldn't give a tinkers cuss about that. Battling qualities of the type displayed by a partially immobilised Alan Shearer and a totally committed Andy Griffin strike as much of a chord with your average punter than fancy footwork and a victory achieved by sheer force of will over more stylish opponents is very bit as memorable. Just ask the mackems that were here last week....

After having slagged off Dyer in recent weeks, his second half performance must be highlighted and praised. Aside from the goal, he grafted for ninety minutes and provided an outlet for the rest of the side when attempting to alleviate pressure on the United box. 

Of course, the winning goal (his first at home this year) was one of his better finishes, having worked the opening through his own speed of thought and pace from Shearer's flick on. In the first half he'd elected to centre when well placed, but fortunately bearing down on the Gallowgate his nerve held and he scored a beauty. If only he could do it a bit more often....

We still seem to be a team in transition, with injured and unsettled players clouding the picture. The three points gained in this game propelled us back into the top half of the table, a truer reflection of our season than the earlier top four place we enjoyed. Robson is still hamstrung to a certain extent, forced to mix and match players to fill shirts and saddled with the legacy of former managers, both in terms of personnel and budget. 

Under those circumstances this was a welcome victory, but he must be aware that especially in the front and backlines, we're a long way from being the finished article. Something about battles and wars seems appropriate....



Page last updated 26 November, 2012