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Season 2003-04
 Liverpool (h) Premiership


Date: Saturday 6th December 2003, 12.30pm  

Venue:  St.James' Park

Quite mild for the time of year but gloomy - floodlights were on by 2pm



Newcastle United

1 - 1 Liverpool


6 mins: An almighty blunder at the heart of our defence - again. Woodgate leapt to meet a high through ball and may have misjudged it but when he was clattered by a moronic intervention from Bramble, Murphy had the simple task of waltzing into the area unopposed and touching the ball past Given into the Gallowgate net. To call it a schoolboy error would be an insult to youngsters up and down the land.  0-1

Half time:  Newcastle 1 Liverpool 1

63 mins: Dyer played in the overlapping Robert on the left side of the area. Kirkland rushed out and Robert touched the ball past him and waited for the inevitable contact. It would have been a brave ref who didn't give it in front of the Gallowgate but Robert sailed fairly close to the wind that brings yellow cards for diving or simulating as the new buzz word seems to be. 

A comparison with Cantaluppi's tumble in the same penalty area ten days earlier when he was booked makes an interesting one. Shearer stepped up and thumped the ball in off the bar to Kirkland's right. A bit closer than our captain intended perhaps. 1-1

Full time:  Newcastle 1 Liverpool 1

We Said

Sir Bobby said:

"We played very well in the second half. We were very much in control and had the bulk of the play and worked their keeper very well. We had a deserved penalty and I thought the referee was outstanding for both sides.

"I thought it was a fabulous game but it was two points we have let slip but we put on a great display. We played lovely football, were competitive and effective."

"It looks as though positions one, two and three are sealed but there is a fourth place. Liverpool will be contending for that one spot but so will we."

"For anybody to get into first, second or third, all of those clubs would have to have a blip, and if they have a blip, it won't be for very long, will it?"

About more daft Shearer for England rumours:

"It's not my shout, it's Alan's shout, isn't it? He made a decision two or three years ago which has benefited us. Ask Sami Hyypia what it's like to play against Alan Shearer and he'll tell you. He's had a fine match, but whether he wants to play for England, one last chance, I don't know."

Alan Shearer blew the story out of the water - again, on ITV:

"I've had my holidays booked for sometime now."

They Said

Gerard Houllier said:

"It was a deserved point. There was a lot of dramatic intensity about the game and I thought we had a good response. We showed guts and character.

"They dominated the game but we knew they would do that because we have practically half a team out with injuries.

"I am a happier man because I think the performance against Bolton was not satisfactory despite the fact we rotated some players.

"The response was full of pride and very positive, and yes that makes me extremely happy and very proud of them."

Charlatan Didi Hamann said this:

"We were quite in control of the game until the penalty but we can't complain about the draw.I think the stage we are in at the moment we have got to keep grinding out results. Coming to Newcastle and getting a draw is not that bad."

Match Stats

NUFC  vs Liverpool @ SJP Last 11 games:

2003/04: Drew 1-1 Shearer (pen) 
2002/03: Won 1-0 Robert
2001/02: Lost 0-2 no scorer
2000/01: Won 2-1 Solano, Dyer
1999/00: Drew 2-2 Shearer, Ferguson
1998/99: Lost 1-4 Guivarc'h
1997/98: Lost 1-2 Watson
1996/97: Drew 1-1 Shearer
1995/96: Won 2-1 Ferdinand, Watson
1994/95: Drew 1-1 Lee
1993/94: Won 3-0 Cole 3

For the fourth season in a row, Liverpool came to St.James' Park without striker Michael Owen. 

It was Boxing Day 1999 when Owen last appeared for his club on Tyneside, scoring both goals in a 2-2 draw, his fifth and sixth on the ground in his last three visits, after a hat trick the previous season and one in a Worthington Cup success back in 1998.

Owen has of course played at SJP this century - scoring at the Gallowgate end as England overcame Albania in September 2001. He's also continued to torment us at Anfield.....


"Above us only Sky" proclaimed the banner draped from the away section on Level Seven, a truism given the loftiness of that particular perch. And while the owner presumably took that phrase from a John Lennon lyric, it could equally be adopted as a motto for the Premiership in the 21st century. Truly Richard Keys and Co. represent a higher power and like Gods, they re-arrange us for their pleasure. And ratings.

I hate lunchtime kickoffs. I can't abide dragging myself out of bed and having a curtailed pre-match pub excursion. Then there's the post-match routine knocked sideways and a general feeling of unreality surrounding the whole day. Oh and by the way, we usually play as if our alarm clocks didn't off and the team hurriedly got changed in the tunnel as the first bars of "Local Hero" rang out across the Park....

Last week it was the miserable pox-ridden black country, looking more like Albania than ever on a damp, grey Molineux morning. At least this time we were at home, meaning that it was only the travelling toon support and away contingent that had the ridiculously early start to get to Kings Cross, or Trowell etc. rather than the whole lot of us.

However, lunchtime starts at SJP have been nothing less than purgatory in the recent past, notably when the team from Old Trafford appear for a light 90 minute workout and collection of points. And all so that we make a few hundred grand to go towards the purchase of the next six, seven or eight million pound man, who then watches these matches from the stand. Funny old game.

Forty five minutes later and while the visiting supporters were doubtless buoyed by their one goal advantage, for the watching telly crowd this game had all the allure of an old episode of "Bergerac". There was just nothing going on of any great interest, a fact reflected in the apparent hibernation of vast tracts of the stadium's occupants.

Thankfully the second half produced at least a facsimile of a football match, as a remodelled home side woke from their slumbers and inspired their followers to do the same.

A penalty decision was reward for our increased endeavour and Liverpool's apparent "stick-at-one" policy, with only the presence of bodies on the goal line at least twice prevented us from taking a lead that seemingly even Houllier's side were resigned to at that stage.

But it was probably appropriate that neither side won this game, as neither really deserved the win bonus after a collective display filled with industry and effort, but lacking in the genuine skilful wow factor.

We may rely on the outcome of the return game at Anfield at the end of the season to separate ourselves from the reds, but while the talismanic Owen is still to return for them, we have to hope that our number nine (and thirty two) remain injury-free and the operation to graft a button onto Bellamy's mouth is a total success.

The fact remains that the league is a three horse race and we're not among the runners or riders. At present none of the fourth place hopefuls are capable of putting a run together, with 'Boro still thereabouts despite not scoring since Stan Cummins left and Man City tucked in behind, despite recent woefulness that's seen Keegan's coat permanently pulled over his face.

If it all hinges on the golden boots of Shola though, we'll do well to make the Intertoto draw. Twice in this game he found himself facing the goal with the ball at his feet and both times he never looked remotely like beating Kirkland. Just not good enough for the level we aspire to.

We were treated to a comparatively rare half time replacement by Sir Bobby, as Solano came on to good applause and occupied the right back spot he's taken up for Peru at various times previously. His introduction came after a particularly annoying 45 minutes down our right flank when the refusal of Dyer to play wide forced Hughes into trying to push forward, before Robert switched wings leaving Dyer to join Speed and Jenas in the overcrowded centre of the pitch.

In the end though things started to come right and we did manage to build up a head of steam and rediscover a passing game that would surely have done for Wolves last week in the way Spurs ripped them open hours after this game.

Once again though we couldn't quite muster the knockout punch and Liverpool escaped from Tyneside with a point in the same way as Bolton and Villa had done before - a point that owed as much to our shortcomings as the strengths of the opposition.

Giving the visitors three points would have been a massive blow to our European hopes for next season, so under the circumstances our fight back is to be applauded. However, we continue to bump along the runway due to the excess baggage we're still saddled with. With memories of yuletide hammerings against them still fresh in the mind, let's hope for some seasonal cheer and lift off against Spurs - with someone else scoring a goal rather than the number nine.  



Page last updated 14 July, 2016