Belfast Telegraph

Gerrard goal caps Reds win

Craig Bellamy scored twice against his former club and captain Steven Gerrard came off the bench to add a third as Liverpool came from behind to beat Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield.

The hosts went behind to Daniel Agger's 25th-minute own goal but Bellamy equalised soon after and then curled in a free-kick midway through the second half.

Gerrard capped his second appearance after two months out with an ankle infection with the third as the Reds won only their fourth home match of the season.

Newcastle took the lead in odd circumstances. Haris Vuckic was walking towards the bench having been hit in the face by Glen Johnson's clearance but Newcastle played on and when Ryan Taylor swung in a cross from the left the ball just missed Yohan Cabaye only for Agger to inadvertently divert it past Jose Reina under pressure from Demba Ba.

However, within four minutes Liverpool were level through Bellamy. Cheick Tiote made a poor attempt at clearing Charlie Adam's cut-back from the right of the penalty area and Bellamy drive through a crowd of players from 16 yards.

Early in the second half, Cabaye was lucky to escape punishment after catching Jay Spearing halfway up his shin with a late tackle.

Gerrard replaced Adam just before the hour and the captain's first involvement was to whip in a near-post cross which almost picked out Andy Carroll. When the England midfielder did find the unmarked striker in five yards of space in the penalty area the £35million signing's first touch let him down badly.

Carroll played a decoy role in Liverpool's second goal but the decisive move came from Danny Simpson. As Bellamy lined up a 67th-minute free-kick the Newcastle defender decided to back-track to the goalline, allowing Carroll to advance towards Tim Krul. When the set-piece came in Simpson got in the way of his goalkeeper and the ball crept between the two of them.

However, Newcastle would have equalised three minutes later when Ba clipped a narrow-angle shot over Reina - only for Martin Skrtel to clear just inches from the goalline. Despite Carroll's best efforts he seemed destined not to score against his old club when his header rebounded off the crossbar.

Not to be outdone Gerrard popped up with a trademark third goal in the 77th minute when he ran from deep to collect Jordan Henderson's through-ball and side-foot an angled shot past Krul from the left of the penalty area. It capped an improved second-half performance and helped ease some of the frustration which had been building up at Anfield.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph