FULL TIME: Newcastle United 2-2 Liverpool
Liverpool were the better team after their second equaliser, and probably should have won given the chances they created afterwards, but then Newcastle were the dominant team up to the sending off, and dug in well with only ten men. A fair result on balance, then, albeit one that's a damn sight more satisfying for the ten men of Newcastle than the visitors. Liverpool go top, a point ahead of Arsenal, but they'll not expect to still be there by the end of the day. But a marvellous match. It's still 39 years since the last goalless draw ...
90 min +6: ... Suarez takes. He curls a powerful effort towards the top right. It's on target! But Krul is behind it to parry brilliantly! And as Sturridge sniffs around the rebound, the referee blows for full time!
90 min +5: Suarez cuts in from the left and is shoved to the ground unceremoniously by Debuchy. That's a free kick to the left of the D. It'll be the last kick of the game. And ...
90 min +4: The Newcastle fans behind the goal take a comical amount of time to get the ball back to Krul. The restart takes nearly a minute. Everyone chipping in for the sake of the team.
90 min +3: Luis Alberto has a whack from 25 yards on the right, but no Cabaye he.
90 min +2: Neither team can string two meaningful passes together at the moment.
90 min +1: Ameobi bustles down the left and wins a corner for Newcastle. The home side look to waste time, but soon concede possession. Liverpool attempt to whoosh upfield through Suarez, but it's not happening for them.
90 min: There will be four added minutes of this.
89 min: A lovely reverse pass sends Sturridge into space down the right. He's clear, but takes a heavy touch, and though he reaches the byline and pulls a chip back into the dangerzone, that's a very decent position wasted. They settle for a corner, from which nothing develops.
87 min: A corner to Liverpool comes to nothing, and in fact it's Newcastle who suddenly look like scoring, Remy tearing up field into yards of space. He's one on one with Cissokho, but the defender wins out with a stunning sliding tackle. There were plenty of red shirts on hand to mop up, too. It's been nothing if not entertaining, this game, and it'd be a brave person who'd call this result, even though there are only three minutes to go!
86 min: Debuchy is late on Moses, and is booked for the reckless slide. Quite a few cautions in this game, and of course the sending off, and yet it's hardly been a testy affair. State of modern football, I suppose.
85 min: Gerrard, upfield on the right, sends a stunning looping cross to the far post, the ball dropping onto Sturridge's boot. But the volley is sent weakly bouncing across the face of goal. What a chance! Liverpool have certainly carved out a few since making it 2-2.
84 min: Gouffran is brought down by Sturridge, the striker sliding in late as the Newcastle man wheeched down the right, looking to take the game to the visitors. Perhaps Newcastle aren't quite finished as an attacking force yet? Remy makes ground down the left, but his cross is aimless and it's a goal kick for Liverpool.
83 min: Sterling comes on for Johnson.
82 min: Debuchy stoops to head a whipped Gerrard cross out for a corner on the left. From the set piece, Henderson chests down a dropping ball on the edge of the area, but scoops miles over. Newcastle will take a draw now, you'd have thought, with little play taking place in the Liverpool half.
81 min: Suarez, in space down the inside right, takes a shot but his effort is blocked bravely by Ameobi on the edge of the box. Cissokho dances past Gouffran down the left, but his low cross is poor. This is attack versus defence again.
78 min: A double change by the home side, who have been hanging on since the equaliser. Ben Arfa and Cabaye are replaced by Sammy Ameobi and Anita.
77 min: Another ludicrous miss by Liverpool! Luis Alberto, who has looked good since coming on, whips a cross to the far post from the right. Moses takes it down - there's a shout for hand ball, but no - and slips back to Sturridge, ten yards out. The striker miskicks, and Henderson takes a fresh-air swipe as he looks to take advantage with Newcastle still all over the shop. Liverpool should be leading.
75 min: Liverpool are suddenly clicking. Gerrard slides Cissokho free down the left. Cissokho reaches the byline and cuts the ball back for Suarez, rushing in, just outside the area. He sends a pearler of a first-time drive towards the top-left corner, but there's a bit too much rise on the ball, and it shaves the top of the crossbar. What a goal that would have been!
74 min: Sturridge slides in, with a view to tapping home a low Luis Alberto cross from the right. But he somehow misses - think Gazza at the Euro 96 semi - and Newcastle breathe again. He was offside, saving his embarrassment, but even so.
GOAL!!! Newcastle United 2-2 Liverpool (Sturridge 72)
What a fantastically worked goal this is! Moses holds the ball up wide on the left, and flicks inside to send Suarez skittering into the box. He takes a step and whips the ball across for Sturridge, who scores his 20th goal for Liverpool by heading into the unguarded net, Krul having been drawn off his line. Liverpool have been poor on the whole, but that was a gorgeous move, and so simple.
71 min: A snapshot by Suarez, who darts onto a rolled pass down the right by Johnson. Krul is behind the low effort, which was heading for the corner. Newcastle flood upfield. Toure cynically batters Remy to the floor, and is understandably booked.
70 min: Tiote romps into the Liverpool half and has a whack from distance. He drags his effort from 25 yards to the left of goal, Mignolet never in trouble.
69 min: Moses meets a Liverpool corner from the right, but his header is soft and wafts miles wide of the left-hand post. Krul, his side down to ten, hasn't been as busy as he was expected to be. Liverpool have been collectively poor, approaching dismal.
68 min: Gouffran is booked for a late slide on Cissokho. There really wasn't much in that. This hasn't been a dirty or ill-tempered game by any means, but here we are.
67 min: Sturridge embarks on a solo meander down the inside right, but is crowded out. Johnson whips a cross in from the right, but Williamson is behind it all the way. Gerrard curls a delicious ball into the box from the same wing, forcing Krul into a superlative smother, with Suarez sniffing around.
65 min: Gerrard angles a ball towards Sturridge from the right, but it's an awful hoof. Liverpool really haven't clicked today at all. Newcastle, ten men or no, have been up in their grilles since the off.
63 min: The ball bounces kindly for Henderson, just outside the D, but the looper he sends towards the top left isn't great. Liverpool make their first shuffle, hooking Sakho, who has yet to impress since his transfer from Paris St Germain, and replaces him with the former Sevilla and Barcelona B midfielder Luis Alberto.
62 min: Liverpool look to press Newcastle back into their area, but the home side spring clear through Remy down the left. Skrtel is forced to hack out for a throw. From the set piece, the ball's planted on Gouffran's noggin, ten yards out, but the striker can't guide goalwards. Goal kick.
60 min: Sakho is limping after clattering into Tiote's standing leg. Thing's like a tree trunk, that wasn't the wisest idea. Looks like he'll be OK, but the play stops for a brief medical interlude.
58 min: Liverpool have to come back at Newcastle again. Their frustration shows as Johnson welts a desperate long-distance effort over the bar. Plenty of time against ten men, of course, providing Gerrard keeps his head, and they've enjoyed nearly 60% possession during this half. But the home side have their tails up now.
GOAL!!! Newcastle United 2-1 Liverpool (Dummett 57)
A free kick to Newcastle down the left. Liverpool haven't been dealing with set pieces well of late, and once again they're all over the shop. The ball's floated towards the far post, over a gaggle of red shirts. And here's the substitute Dummett, stealing in from the right to sidefoot powerfully into the bottom left! St James' erupts! Nobody thought this would be the result of that sending off, did they.
55 min: It's still attack versus defence. Eventually Liverpool's patience snaps, and Moses has a whack with his left peg from just outside the D. It's not particularly accurate. His follow-through catches Tiote, who requires a sponge to the leg, but he'll be OK writes Dr Murray.
54 min: Newcastle are holding their shape well. Liverpool are knocking it around patiently, but they're not really going anywhere. The crowd are fairly quiet now, there's not a lot to react to at the moment.
51 min: Skrtel sticks out a leg to poke the ball away from Remy, as the striker enters the Liverpool area down the right. It's a superlative saving tackle, though as Remy goes to ground, and the defender was coming from behind, the crowd make their opinion known. "I'd like to see the entertainment ranched up a notch and the offended team invited to choose either option," suggests Steve Hewlett.
50 min: Gerrard blocks Remy near the centre circle. I tell you what, that's more of a booking than the tug on Cabaye. The crowd, working out the equation, holler in the furious style, demanding Liverpool be reduced to ten men too. But the referee makes do with a quiet word. Keep an eye on this, Gerrard might be in the last-chance saloon here.
48 min: Johnson cuts inside from the right and fires one to the bottom-right corner. Krul is behind it, palming out for a corner. Great save. Moses and Suarez combine to make a holy show of themselves from the corner, and the pressure's off the Toon.
47 min: A slow, undistinguished start to the second period. Meanwhile, for those of you without subscriptions to BT Sport, you'll have missed David Ginola calling Jake Humphries a wanker. The resulting hoo-hah has knocked Spacemonkey-gate into a cocked hat. OK, no it hasn't, but BT have decided to apologise anyway. State of modern football, huh?
The game's underway again, everyone! Newcastle are the team we all have to thank for this state of affairs. "No interest in either team but any chance we could start a debate on how dozy the 'denying a goal-scoring opportunity' rule is when applied inside the box?" asks Nicholas McGeehan. Feel free, sir, perhaps if it develops nicely we'll nick everything you say for our Ten Things column on Monday morning, there are only so many ideas in the world after all. "Defending team are penalised twice. If the offence takes place outside of the box (which is why the rule was originally brought in was it not?) then the red card is an appropriate sanction but when a penalty has been awarded it makes little sense. An exception might be when the foul is obviously deliberate and the ungentlemanly conduct adds to the offence of the foul. Red cards can and will continue to spoil big games."
Half-time entertainment: Brought to you from London ...
... and a regional variation from the local Tyne Tees company. "She gans to graft and comes back again."
HALF TIME: Newcastle United 1-1 Liverpool
Gerrard goes off moaning and bitching at the referee. It's an ersatz version of Johan Cruyff at the 1974 World Cup final, only without a booking. Newcastle go into the changing rooms with faces on, and no wonder: they were totally on top until the penalty incident. Yanga-Mbiwa's challenge was soft, but daft too: he made contact with Suarez, who was within his rights to buy the penalty. What a mood-changer that was. The second half should be interesting.
45 min +1: Gerrard is booked for putting a hand on Cabaye's shoulder and dragging the midfielder back. He can't really complain about that, though it was a silly, needless challenge.
45 min: Newcastle make an enforced change, in the wake of the red card. Sissoko is sacrificed for Dummett.
44 min: Now it's Liverpool's turn to be on the front foot. Gerrard and Suarez combine down the inside right. The Liverpool captain looks to lash one into the top left from the right-hand edge of the D, but only succeeds in finding the top-left corner of the stand behind the goal.
GOAL! Newcastle United 1-1 Liverpool (Gerrard 42 pen)
Nope. He sidefoots towards the left-hand corner. It's not tight to the post, but Krul can't reach it despite making the right call. What a game changer, because Newcastle were on top, and Liverpool were all over the shop. But the defender can have no complaints; it was a penalty and a clear goalscoring opportunity.
40 min: Yanga-Mbiwa is sent off for bringing down Suarez, as the striker is sent clear down the right channel by Sturridge. He clipped the back of Suarez's leg, and had a brush of his shoulder, too. The referee has no option but to flash red. Yanga-Mbiwa takes a Rattinesque amount of time to leave the field. Will it unnerve Gerrard, as he looks to score his 100th Premier League goal?
39 min: Tiote gives the ball away just outside his area. Sturridge slides the ball down the inside-right channel to Suarez, who takes a shot towards the bottom left. Krul is down to smother.
37 min: Sissoko decides to test Mignolet with a rising blooter from 25 yards, having just cut in from the right. The keeper is the equal of it - it's not moving around in the Cabayesque fashion - but he's still only able to parry. Newcastle can't get a man on the end of the rebound, and the chance is gone. But the home side are looking far more likely to score next. This is a highly impressive display, though Liverpool aren't functioning at all.
35 min: Cabaye nearly scores another stunner, sending a shot miles to the right of goal from 30 yards but curling it back towards the top right. Mignolet has this one covered, and it wasn't on target either. But Liverpool need to watch out, because they're second best in midfield and another goal will see them in all sorts of bother.
34 min: Moses nearly breaks into the Newcastle area down the left, but he's denied by a stunning sliding tackle by Gouffran. Newcastle are working hard, and playing wonderfully too, Cabaye and Ben Arfa their star men so far.
33 min: Sturridge is off the field changing his boots. He's not around for a Suarez corner from the right. Toure is gifted half a chance, with a header 12 yards out, but gets no purchase on the ball. Sturridge comes back on, resplendent in new neon-orange footwear.
31 min: Moses breaks down the middle, thinks about getting the shot away, but feeds Johnson instead. His looping cross causes a bit of bother, a wee game of head tennis in the Newcastle area, but the home side deal with it eventually. Sturridge tries to get something going down the right, but he runs into a black-and-white wall. It's just not working for Liverpool at the moment, and Newcastle are looking increasingly comfortable.
29 min: Newcastle are on the front foot. They win a corner down the right, Liverpool struggling to string two passes together. They deal with the set piece, but Moses soon concedes possession, and Newcastle are able to ping it around the middle awhile, ramping up Liverpool's frustration.
27 min: Tiote so nearly breaks into the Liverpool area down the left. Sturridge gets in front of him and buys the free kick, but the midfielder can count himself unlucky, because there wasn't much in the challenge that looked to have earned him possession in the Liverpool area.
25 min: Liverpool nearly level the scores immediately. First Toure is found in space just to the left of the goal. The ball's bundled out for a corner, from which Suarez brings the ball down brilliantly near the right-hand post. Having made space for himself on the byline, he pulls the ball back for Sakho, who twists low in the air and fires a header over the bar. That probably should have been the equaliser, because Newcastle were all over the shop as a result of Suarez's brilliant takedown, and there was plenty of unguarded goal to aim at.
GOAL!!! Newcastle United 1-0 Liverpool (Cabaye 23)
And having stood up to the test defensively, they take the lead! Cabaye, cutting in from the right and romping down the channel, launches a swerving, looping shot towards the bottom left from 30 yards. And it flies into the corner! A magnificent strike, which moved inside then out, and evaded the hand of Mignolet. The keeper might have done a wee bit better, but that was such a sweet strike it would be churlish to bring the keeper into it.
22 min: Another corner to Liverpool, down the right again, Tiote forced to deal with a long ball into the area from a free kick on the left. Yanga-Mbiwa belts the corner behind. Corner two is met at the far post by Gerrard, who heads back across. Skrtel, eight yards out, can't get his header on target, the ball sailing out poorly, high and wide left of the goal. That's the first prolonged period of pressure applied by the away side, and they've stood up to the test well.
20 min: Sturridge chases a long ball down the left. By the corner flag he flicks back to Cissohko, who looks for Gerrard in the middle. Gerrard shapes to Zidane it, but is blocked. Johnson wins a corner down the right, from which Suarez arrows a majestic header towards the top left. The ball's going wide, just, but Santon wasn't to know, and heads out for another corner, a very responsible defensive header. The second corner of this phase comes to nowt.
18 min: Corner to Newcastle down the left, Remy having forced an awkward stooping clearance out of Skrtel. But nothing comes of the set piece. Liverpool look to break upfield through Moses, but he's robbed in the centre circle. This game's suddenly being played out on a see-saw, for Newcastle come straight back at Liverpool. Remy attempts to beat Mignolet from 40 (!) yards. Come along, now, there's ambition and then there's ambition.
17 min: Mignolet bowls the ball out to Cissokho down the left. Cissokho's had a shaky start, but this is more promising, a powerful run deep into Newcastle territory, shrugging off a couple of challenges. The move breaks down when he lays off inside to Gerrard.
15 min: Neither team is quite clicking yet. Newcastle will probably be the happier, considering how quickly things got out of hand last season. At this point they were a couple of minutes away from going 2-0 down.
12 min: Some silky possession retention by Moses in the centre circle. His skilful ability to hold onto the ball despite being swarmed by opponents allows him to roll a pass down the inside right for Sturridge, who enters the box and elects to shoot from a prohibitive angle instead of rolling it across for other red shirts. A frowning Gerrard deconstructs the move, step by step, in the vocal fashion, with the use of bullet points.
11 min: A lot of space for Newcastle down the right with Liverpool light at the back, Sturridge having been robbed in the centre circle. Cissokho is nowhere to be seen. But Ben Arfa's pass to Debuchy down the wing is too pacy, and the ball whistles into the stand. That's a shame for the home side, for possibilities were opening up in front of the Toon there.
9 min: Liverpool win a corner down the left. They load the box. The delivery doesn't beat the first man. What a waste of time. Newcastle go up the other end, where Cabaye shapes like Zinedine Zidane in the 2002 Champions League final, but can't quite execute the same kind of volley that did for Bayer Leverkusen. Still, worth a shot. It's still 0-0. Only 81 more minutes, and it'll be like 1974 all over again.
7 min: Johnson sprays a delightful crossfield ball towards Cissokho down the left. The French defender celebrates his first start for his new club by failing to control the ball with space opening up in front of him, and skittering across the turf on his face. The only way, literally and figuratively, is up.
6 min: Cabaye launches long for Ben Arfa, who nearly gets a jump on Skrtel down the inside left. But the defender extends his neck telescopically and the ball doesn't get through. Newcastle are soon coming back at Liverpool, Debuchy cutting in from the right and sending a daisycutter straight down Mignolet's throat. A lovely open start to this game, with both teams looking in the mood.
4 min: Liverpool knock it around in the pretty fashion down the right. Gerrard pulls a ball back for Suarez, who exchanges passes with Johnson on the edge of the area. Yanga-Mbiwa puts Johnson on his face, but in a legal manner. Newcastle were nearly prised open then.
3 min: But it's Newcastle who offer something in an attacking sense first. Ben Arfa twists and turns down the right, but is knocked off the ball by Sakho just as he enters the area.
2 min: Liverpool spend the opening couple of minutes knocking it around the back. Sterile domination. TCP-taka.
And we're off! A fantastic atmosphere at St James', the home fans giving it plenty, the away supporters firing down a few tunes themselves from their position above the heavens. Liverpool get the ball rolling.
The teams are out! Newcastle are sporting their famous black-and-white stripes, Liverpool in their equally well-known all-red get-up. And the usual favourites are blasting out of the PA.
"Are Liverpool really playing 3-4-3?" asks Roy Allen. "Has Brendan been reading any articles in the past 24 hours about the tradition of open play and goals aplenty in this fixture?" It would appear so. It's either that or they're playing a 1-0-9 (the tactically disciplined Suarez in the holding role). Newcastle fans will surely be looking at that line-up and recalling the days of Kevin Keegan. This game could pan out in all manner of ways, let's face it.
There's been a protest outside St James' Park before the game. Hundreds of Newcastle fans have been marching against the way in which owner Mike Ashley is
ruining running the club. They've been doing this ...
... because they don't agree with this ...
... and they're also not happy with the lack of investment in players, the sponsorship deal with usurers Wonga, and the ludicrous decision to rename the stadium (that thankfully didn't take). Preach on, brothers and sisters. Those in agreement may be able to find out more thanks to the info on this banner, which also stands as a lovely potted history of graphic design in the north-east.
You will be watching ...
Alan Pardew's Newcastle United: Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Williamson, Santon, Cabaye, Tiote, Sissoko, Ben Arfa, Remy, Gouffran.
Subs: Anita, Cisse, Elliot, Shola Ameobi, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett.
The Liverpool Wingbacks, as sent out by the Roy Evans de nos jours: Mignolet, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho, Johnson, Henderson, Gerrard, Cissokho, Moses, Sturridge, Suarez.
Subs: Jones, Agger, Alberto, Allen, Sterling, Kelly, Flanagan.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)
This fixture ended 0-6 last season. The season before it ended 2-0. The season before that it ended 3-1. And the season before that it ended 1-5. In other recent years, Liverpool have travelled to St James' Park and won 3-0 and 4-1. Newcastle also have other recent ticks on their credit tally, a couple of 2-1 wins, a couple of 1-0s.
Neither of these teams have looked particularly convincing in defence of late, Newcastle losing their last league game here 3-2 to newly promoted Hull City, and capitulating in the first half at Everton recently. Liverpool meanwhile have been crumbling regularly at set pieces, as witnessed in their displays against Southampton, Manchester United and Crystal Palace. Both teams, however, look potent in attack: Loic Remy, Hatem ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse for the Toon, the SAS (Blackburn Rovers should have copyrighted that) of Luis Suarez and the increasingly impressive Daniel Sturridge for the Reds.
Also, there hasn't been a goalless draw in the league between these sides since 1974. And even then the game included goalline clearances, several missed gilt-edged opportunities, and a decent display by some RAF doggies at half time.
So. We've put all that through this microcomputer:
... and this is going to end 0-0, isn't it.
Hey, don't shoot the messenger / data-input operative. Hopefully this is the mother of all fate-tempters. Classic, please, along the lines of this little lot!
Kick off: 12.45pm.