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Season 2002-03 
Match Report 2002-03 - Liverpool (a) 

This report is brought to you by Ginsters


Monday 2nd September 2002, 8pm

Venue: Anfield

Conditions: Warm and dry, except in the back of the away end under the stand, where a remake of Tenko could have been staged - positively sauna-like. 


Liverpool 2 - 2 Newcastle United


Half time:  Liverpool 0 Newcastle 0

54 mins A hasty thrown clearance from Given found Solano just outside the Newcastle penalty area and he was instantly set upon by two Liverpool players. Gerrard robbed him of the ball and knocked it into the feet of Hamann who rammed it into the net from an angle. 1-0

73 mins
Dabizas ended up towering over a non-jumping Hyppia and with the adjacent Kop bellowing for a spot kick, Poll duly obliged. No great protests from the toon players and Owen duly slipped the ball past Given.2-0

80 mins
 The comeback began. Robert scampered away down the left away from two defenders and found the onrushing Bellamy. He twisted into the box and had the presence of mind to pull the ball back to the unmarked Speed who blasted in after changing stride to hit it with his right foot.  2-1

88 mins
 Amid scenes of great excitement from the toon fans, Robert bludgeoned over a corner from the left at the Anfield Road end and a memorable jump and header from Shearer powered the ball past Dudek and Traore on the goal line. I have no idea what happened for the next 90 seconds, but several bruised ribs and a big lump on the back of the head may provide some clues....2-2

Full time:  Liverpool  2 Newcastle 2

We Said

Sir Bobby said:

I always knew we had more than 30m worth of talent in reserve should we need it."

"They weren't going to come on if we'd been in control but we ended up in trouble. I was forced to make the changes and they had a sudden impact.

"At one point we looked like we were dead and buried but with four internationals waiting in the wings I could always give my players a pick-me-up.

"I know they had many more chances than we did but, in the end, I thought we might have won it. Only an excellent interception denied Alan Shearer at the end." 

"We just played with the kind of tremendous spirit which earned us so many points on our travels last season.

"We never gave it up but for most of the game they had the attacking edge and we were hanging on. The game was never beyond us but I must pay tribute to Aaron Hughes. He was absolutely outstanding and made at least four vital challenges."

"We went 2-0 down and we never gave it up - we needed to score a goal, which we did.

"We were back in it at 2-1 and, after that, it could have been anybody's game.

"We always had belief. I always felt there was something in it for us."

"Three games (played so far), two away from home, and four points is not so bad." 

On the penalty award:

"I would think that would be a good decision." 

On Bellamy:

"We're doing everything we can to stop Craig from playing for Wales.

"He's played 20 minutes in seven months and he's nowhere near ready for an international. If he goes to link up with his country and comes back injured, my chairman would go ballistic.

"We've told Craig and the Welsh Football Association he's simply not fit.

"I'm not a manager who takes away players and as soon as he's fit he'll have my blessing to play for his country. Until then I'm sending him to Morecambe, where he will play for the reserves."

On Dyer:

"He is also feeling pain in his shins again."

Alan Shearer chipped in:

"The manager has got this attitude that we're never beaten.

"And we've got a point and it's a great result for us in the end."

"There's a great spirit in the side, we never stop trying and running. It wasn't a vintage performance but the introduction of some fresh legs made all the difference.

"We showed last year that we have a never-say-die attitude which got us back into games that we looked likely to lose. We did the same against Liverpool when it perhaps looked over."

While Speed took the blame for a second half on-pitch falling out with Dyer:

"To be fair it was my fault. It was all in the heat of the moment.

"I gave the ball to Kieron and said something to him and he thought I was blaming him but I wasn't.

"It was my fault and I take full responsibility for it but at least it got us going again. When all this was happening we were having a bad time and I was the worst culprit.

"I had a torrid 20 minutes when I gave the ball away and that's what we did when they scored their opening goal. We did think it was a penalty, that is apart from Nicos Dabizas, but the way we came back showed we have not lost any of our fighting spirit.

"We came here expecting to get something but when you are 2-0 down you can be excused from thinking that you are not going to get anything.

"The manager made some inspired substitutions and they got us back into it.

"Our crowd got a little buzz when they came on."

They Said

Monsieur Houllier said:

"The best thing I can say about the game is that the tradition of Liverpool-Newcastle fixtures was upheld. 

"It was a great game of football but we just didn't get the three points which I felt we deserved.

"We had more fluency in the team than Newcastle and I felt they rode their luck. We created as many chances as it is possible to create and could well have scored 10 on another night.

"But Bobby made three clever substitutions and we were drawn into an attacking game in the closing stages when we should have shut up shop. The Liverpool team were more ambitious than their manager.

"We had plenty of chances to score a third goal - we are disappointed with the result. We created a lot of chances and we were unlucky not to score more goals.

"Every game we show a little bit better. We have only got two points in the last two games but those games were better than our first two games."

Match Stats

All time Premiership: P353 W158 D89 L106 F558 A422 Points= 563

Robson NUFC (all competitions): P147, W71, D35, L41

We've conceded 155 league goals at Anfield in 68 games while scoring 74. 

Our first point on this ground since a 2-0 victory under Keegan in 1993-94, and our first draw since December 1985 - a 1-1 stalemate.

Alan Shearer notched goal number 123 for Newcastle, adding to his header in front of the Kop in March 2000 with another one off the slightly balding pate at the Anfield Road end.

Our number nine has now scored in 4 games against Liverpool for Newcastle, but is yet to finish on the winning side.

Gary Speed's goal was United's 1,700th in the top flight away from home.


Were this match to be a cheesy 1980's pop hit, it would be "Against All Odds", or a gallic arthouse movie, "Breathless."

Whatever spurious reference point gets dragged in to the equation however can only hint at the rollercoaster ride of a game that these two sides once again played out in front of a goggle-eyed telly audience.

Comeback kings for once at Anfield were the visitors, and it was the home fans left looking bemused at the final whistle. Thankfully.

In front of messrs Keegan and Dalglish, the two architects of the infamous 4-3 losses, Bobby went one better and although we didn't snaffle all three points, this felt like an almighty victory of the moral variety.

While we undoubtedly dug deep into our well of fighting spirit though and battled manfully to contain the red menace, on another night we could have been severely mauled and shipped goals by the bucketload.

For once Michael Owen left his shooting boots elsewhere and seemingly only his reputation and habit of scoring against us saw him remain on the field when his litany of missed chances suggested an early bath.

He did beat Given from the spot of course, but otherwise was something approaching a weak link as Hamann once again prospered in the space that has existed in our midfield since he defected from Tyneside to Merseyside.  

On such a momentous night, it's probably worth going through those that played:

Given - penalty saves not a speciality (see World Cup) but some valuable blocks without the eye-catching saves that he's pulled off in other games. 

Hughes - tried to augment the attack in the first half but had his hands full with raids down the flank from the tricky and talented Liverpool midfield. Probably reminiscent of playing for his country, when threats come from all sides. 

Dabizas - had a point to prove to fans, manager, media and probably himself. Penalty was only major rick in a gutsy display when he managed to stop himself from leaping in to tackles and over-committing himself.

Bramble - the odd error but some well-timed interceptions, and importantly he looked to have the stomach for the fight and seemed to be enjoying himself. Settling in continues.

Bernard - again less than wonderful, but seemed to be singled out by Poll for particularly unfair treatment. One or two of his little runs and jinks were evident, which may hopefully point to a resurgence.

Solano - running on empty. Crossing has dried up and looked as if he was coming to the end of a hard campaign, not beginning one. It's starting to become clear why Bobby has been looking at right-sided midfielders...... 

Viana - unlucky to come off and could have played a crucial role in a more central position. Unfair to expect instant match-winning prowess in an arena like this, but no complaints about him knuckling down.

- looked a little lad playing with big boys. Later revealed to be under the weather and claiming sore shins.

- involved in a spat with Dyer and openly abused by sections of the away support, notably when we wasn't replaced during the triple substitution. Got the goal but seemed to lack mobility and often came under pressure with the consequence that passing quality was variable.

- 45 minutes of pure graft to try and stem the tide heading towards our goal, reminiscent of a similar singular contribution in one of his early games at Highbury. Less of a threat in the second half - knackered presumably.

- not a great deal of goal threat to be frank, until that magic last few moments when he struck once, and almost won it. Predatory instincts undiminished. 

- stark contrast with his virtuoso display of shirking the last time we played here. Looked motivated, committed and of course prodigiously talented. Seeing Viana playing in the middle with Robert on the wing to receive those wonderful passes is a truly mouth-watering prospect.  

- back in the groove within a nanosecond of getting on the pitch. Wonderful.

- unfamiliar wide role, but those all-important fresh legs were invaluable.

Had we lost this game, we would have had to stew in our own juice until Leeds (who have their own problems) came to toon. As it is, both players and crowd can take heart and draw strength from the late rally and deserved point.

And as for the return of the Welshman and the Frenchie? Not a moment too soon. We will need their talent if we're to take the Champions League challenge.     


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Page last updated 02 September, 2012