After The Match 


Newcastle-Liverpool 2-1 (1-1)   10.2.07                              PL
Goals: Bellamy (6)                        Martins (26), Solano (pen 69)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Riise, Agger, Carragher, Sissoko, Gerrard, Pennant, Zenden, Bellamy, Kuyt
Subs: Guthrie (Zenden 75), Arbeloa (Pennant 76),
Crouch (Finnan 84)
Not used: Dudek, Hyypia
Yellow: Gerrard (90)                  Bramble (66)
Red: None
Referee: M Halsey
Shots on target: 2-7
Shots off target: 4-4
Blocked shots: 2-2
Possession: 42-58
Fouls conceded: 10-14
Corners: 3-4
Offsides: 2-4
Yellow: 1-1

HEADLINES "It's something you can't explain but
we were punished for our mistakes."

    Rafael Benitez

1002: Rafa rues wasted chances
1002: Reds sunk by Solano spot-kick


Rafa rues wasted chances

By Chris Harvey - Sky Sports

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was left to rue a number of missed opportunities in his side's 2-1 defeat at St James' Park.

Craig Bellamy, on his return to his former club, could have had a hat-trick while Dirk Kuyt was also guilty of wasting several clear openings.

The game was eventually decided by Nolberto Solano's 70th minute

"After missing so many clear chances it's difficult to explain how we lost with a rebound and a penalty," the Liverpool boss told Sky Sports.

"It's something you can't explain but we were punished for our mistakes.

"The equaliser was bad luck but when you create chances to score two, three, four goals it's difficult to understand how we lost the game."

The Spaniard refused to condemn Mark Halsey's penalty award even though John Arne Riise appeared to make minimal contact with Newcastle defender Steven Taylor.

"I haven't seen the replay but it could be a penalty. It was stupid (the challenge) but could be a penalty."

Bellamy himself was disappointed not to have given his side the three points.

"We had some chances and at 1-0 up we felt comfortable but fair play to Newcastle; they got a scrappy goal and got back into it.

After opening the scoring early on, the Welsh international was denied a hat-trick by a combination of the woodwork and Newcastle keeper Steve Harper in an amazing period in the first half.

"It was a strange couple of minutes for me and I'm disappointed we lost but all credit to them."

As expected, Bellamy was treated to a chorus of boos by the home fans following his controversial departure last year.

"I probably expected a little bit worse to be honest," said the former Geordie favourite. "But if there's one group of fans who can boo me it's the Newcastle fans and I don't have a problem with that as they were good to me when I was here."

Reds sunk by Solano spot-kick

By Chris Harvey - Sky Sports

A controversial Nolberto Solano penalty allowed Newcastle to come from behind to beat Liverpool who paid the price for squandering a host of opportunities.

Solano slotted home from the spot after John Arne Riise was penalised for an apparent trip on Steven Taylor.

Replays showed there was minimal contact as Taylor went over the Norwegian's outstretched leg but referee Mark Halsey had no hesitation in awarding the penalty.

The result was harsh on the visitors and particularly Craig Bellamy on his return to the club he left in controversial circumstances. The Welsh skipper gave the Reds the lead early on and had a number of chances to make the game safe before the break but ultimately the visitors paid for their profligacy in front of goal.

Obafemi Martins had already cancelled out Bellamy's sixth minute opener in the first half before Solano's coolly-taken spot-kick 20 minutes from time gave the Magpies the points.

The St James' Park pitch was only passed fit a couple of hours before kick-off after persistent rain in the north-east and the sticky surface made precise passing difficult.

Predictably Bellamy's every touch was booed but the Welsh skipper silenced the taunts after just six minutes. Steve Harper's weak kick went straight to Jermaine Pennant who drove into the area before cutting back for Bellamy to side-foot home.

Bolo Zenden, making his first start since sustaining a knee injury earlier in the season, had a chance to double the visitors' advantage but, after beating the offside trap he shot tamely at the advancing Harper.

The Magpies, still missing a host of injured internationals, struggled to gain a foothold in the game with the Liverpool rearguard largely untroubled. The same could not be said of the Newcastle back four who looked continually unsteady on the difficult pitch with Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt stretching them regularly.

But just as it seemed hard to see the hosts getting back into the match, they were handed a lifeline by Jose Reina. The Liverpool keeper charged off his line to deal with a through ball by Kieron Dyer but his attempted clearance rebounded off Daniel Agger and into the path of Martins who stroked the bal into the vacant net.

The goal breathed belief into the home side who pressured the visitors' goal but it was old boy Bellamy who continued to look a menace and again he evaded Bramble but his dangerous low cross was cut out by Harper at the near post.

Bellamy had a couple more opportunities to restore the Reds' advantage but first he was denied by Bramble's goalline clearance and then by the woodwork. Zenden also produced a spooned save from Harper as the visitors turned the screw.

The half ended with Benitez's men continuing to press but a couple of openings for Steven Gerrard were snuffed out.

The Reds carved out the first opening of the second period when Kuyt broke into the box but he fired narrowly wide when well-placed.

At the other end, Dyer found space down the right and cut by Agger but failed to pick out a teammate with his cross.

Bramble became the first player booked when he hacked down the raiding Steve Finnan while his defensive partner Oguchi Onyewu was fortunate to get away with a slip as Kuyt threatened to break clear.

The game turned when the hosts were awarded a controversial penalty. Taylor went over Riise's outstretched leg but there appeared minimal contact. Solano took over duties from Martins and coolly slotted the ball past Reina.

Liverpool introduced Alvaro Arbeloa and Peter Crouch as they attempted to rescue a point but the Newcastle defence held on gamely.

A last desperate surge into the box by Kuyt saw him tumble under the challenge of Taylor but his half-hearted penalty appeal was rejected and with it went the away side's last hope.

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Thor Zakariassen