After The Match 


Newcastle-Liverpool 1-3 (1-2)           19.03.06                   PL
Goals: Crouch (10), Gerrard (35), Cisse (52 pen)
Ameobi (41)
Team: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Warnock, Gerrard, Hamann, Kromkamp, Kewell, Cisse, Crouch
Subs: Garcia (Crouch 63), Alonso (Gerrard 74), Fowler (Hyypia 90)
Not used: Dudek, Traore
Yellow: Cisse (53), Agger(86), Carragher (87)
Ramage (39), Bowyer (55)
Red: Boumsong (51)
Referee: M Riley
Attendance: 52,302
Shots on target: 3-6
Shots off target: 4-8
Possession: 57.9-42.1
Fouls conceded: 21-18
Corners: 2-1
Offsides: 6-5
Yellow: 2-3


HEADLINES "It's important for the team
to have more confidence."
    Rafael Benitez

2003: Benitez: Cisse sorry for Toon gestures
2003: Benitez strikes the right note
1903: Rafa content with system
1903: Roeder bemoans Boumsong
1903: Liverpool cruise as Toon lose


Both Gerrard and Crouch on target
as Reds win.

Benitez: Cisse sorry for Toon gestures

Football 365

Djibril Cisse has issued an apology through Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez for his controversial behaviour after scoring his side's third goal from the spot at Newcastle.

Benitez took time off from preparing for the FA Cup quarter-final at Birmingham to defend his errant Frenchman, insisting his reaction to crowd abuse at St James' Park was not a "serious" incident.

"I told him during the game to calm down, and at the end we also talked," said Benitez. "The message on his shirt was for his young son and his family, and he has told me that he wishes to say sorry to the Newcastle fans. He hopes it is not a problem. I do not think there will be any further action, it was not a serious incident."

Benitez added: "For him it was really important to score, he had been under a lot of pressure, and maybe his reaction was understandable, after the celebrations he was just sorry about what happened.

"We have talked, he wants to say sorry. He has been trying for a long time to score and he had managed it, I suppose it was a normal reaction.

"Raising his shirt showed a message to his family, maybe it was a bad reaction afterwards but it was a moment in which he was under pressure and he regrets it."

Benitez strikes the right note

By Damian Spellman - PA Sport

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has admitted his strikers have given him a problem after discovering their goal touch.

The Reds had come under fire for struggling to score with their expensively-assembled pool of frontmen enduring a tough time.

However, after seeing Robbie Fowler, Fernando Morientes and Peter Crouch all get their names on the scoresheet against Fulham in midweek, the Spaniard was delighted as Crouch and Djibril Cisse struck in Sunday's 3-1 win at Newcastle.

"It's really important for them and also for the team to see all the strikers scoring goals," he said.

"Now the problem is for me. All of them are scoring goals, but it's a good problem and we will have more confidence for the forthcoming games."

Benitez has been particularly pleased with the form of England marksman Crouch after he suffered a difficult start to his career at Anfield.

He turned in an excellent individual display at St James' Park, scoring the first goal, setting up the second and winning the penalty from which Cisse struck.

His manager was happy with his contribution even before the goals.

"He was playing well," said Benitez. "He can keep the ball and pass and win it in the air.

"We decided to sign Peter because in the English league, it's really, really important to have a player like him."

Victory helped Liverpool to maintain the pressure on Manchester United in second place - they are now only two points adrift, although have played two more games - and was all the more impressive as it came after the manager made five changes.

"If you want to win titles, you need a good squad," he said. "That means you need good players who if you call upon them, must be ready.

"We had a new system and they were aware. I am happy for me as a manager and for them. That means they are really good professionals."

Benitez asked Stephen Warnock and Jan Kromkamp to play as wing-backs, and it was a system Newcastle struggled to handle as French defender Jean-Alain Boumsong self-destructed.

He allowed Crouch to head Liverpool in front after 10 minutes and when Steven Gerrard made it 2-0 10 minutes before the break, it looked all over.

Shola Ameobi's 41st-minute header briefly gave the Magpies hope, but Boumsong's dismissal within seven minutes of the restart and Cisse's successful penalty clinched the points and fully justified Benitez's tactical move.

"They have two good players up front, one good in the air and the other one quick, and we tried to control them," he said.

"We used different players, Kromkamp and Warnock, in the wide areas to go forward.

"We started the game really well with the movement of Harry Kewell and Warnock going forward and we created a chance with the first cross in the first minute."

Rafa content with system

By Alex Dunn - Sky Sports

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez feels the system he employed against Newcastle proved a success and conceded he may use it again in midweek.

Benitez dispensed with Liverpool's normal 4-4-2 formation to operate with three central defenders and wing backs, with the switch having worked well in a comfortable 3-1 victory.

Liverpool's assured display has given Benitez food for thought ahead of Tuesday's FA Cup quarter final tie against Birmingham and it could be that a similar system will be used again.

"We're also thinking about the FA Cup," he told Sky Sports.

"After the sending off we were in control of the game and there were two saves by their keeper (Shay Given) at the end.

"We've not been doing anything different but today we changed the system.

''It's a possibility (to keep the system for the Birmingham match) because today it was good.

"It's important for the team to have more confidence. The strikers are good and if you create chances you can score."

Roeder bemoans Boumsong

By Alex Dunn - Sky Sports

Glenn Roeder concedes Jean-Alain Boumsong's sending-off gave his side a mountain they were never likely to climb against Liverpool.

Newcastle lost 3-1 at St James' Park to an impressive Liverpool but at one point, when Shola Ameobi netted to make the game 2-1, Roeder's side looked that they might get back into the game.

However, just five minutes into the second half and Boumsong's horrendous defensive blunder gave Liverpool a penalty and reduced Newcastle to ten men.

A routine ball from Liverpool's backline saw Boumsong produce an air shot as he tried to repel it, then, with Peter Crouch bearing down on goal the Frenchman dragged him down for a penalty.

''He will be disappointed with that when he sees it again,'' Roeder told Sky Sports. ''The double whammy from that incident is he gives a penalty away and gets sent off.

"In general players, when they make a mistake like that, panic. You have to make a quick decision.

"He made a decision to try to rectify the error but ended up giving a penalty away.

"I would suggest it is harder to score in open play than from a penalty. I would probably have let him (Crouch) go.

"But he has to pick himself up, be a strong person and get on with it."

Liverpool cruise as Toon lose

By Alex Dunn - Sky Sports

Liverpool had too much for Newcastle at St James' Park as they recorded a 3-1 win on their travels that puts them within two points of Manchester United in second place.

Peter Crouch was the architect of much of their best work as he scored the first, laid on the second for Steven Gerrard and was hauled down for the third - a penalty from Djibril Cisse - conceded by Jean-Alain Boumsong in an incident that saw the Frenchman dismissed.

Newcastle looked to have fought their way back into the contest when Shola Ameobi headed home with his side two goals down just before half-time but Boumsong's defensive howler and Liverpool's superior class came to the fore in the second half.

Rafa Benitez had been busy pre-match in making six changes to the side that demolished Fulham in midweek and with alterations in personnel came a new formation as Liverpool started with a back three flanked by wing-backs, as Stephen Warnock caught the eye with several measured forays down the left.

It was Liverpool that started much the brighter and if the marriage between Newcastle and Glenn Roeder showed the occasional strain last weekend at Old Trafford, then the honeymoon period was officially over just ten minutes in at St James'.

With Liverpool crisp in possession and Newcastle on the back foot, Jan Kromkamp clipped an accurate ball to the back post from deep on the right, Crouch found himself between the ill-positioned Peter Ramage and Jean-Alain Boumsong and with the simplest of headers registered from just inside the six yard box.

While Crouch has silenced his army of critics of late, Cisse continues to frustrate and the Frenchman had Benitez rolling his eyes on the touchline when after Kewell's ball was played right across Newcastle's goal, his finish from the angle showed an absolute dearth of composure.

With Newcastle struggling to find a foot-hold their front pairing were being fed on scraps and from one such morsel, Alan Shearer fired wide before Charles N'Zogbia forced a parry from Jose Reina with a fizzing snapshot - his last contribution before hobbling off to be replaced by Lee Bowyer in the 25th minute.

Just five minutes later and Liverpool were in cruise control as Gerrard grabbed his 19th goal of another productive campaign with the most sumptuous of efforts. Cisse's raid down the right ended with a looped cross to Newcastle's back post that saw Gerrard cushion a header into the path of Crouch, the lay-off was perfect and with a beautifully controlled strike the England midfielder bent past Shay Given from the edge of the area.

A comeback looked unlikely as Newcastle laboured but with five minutes left to the break, another deep cross yielded the game's third goal as Scott Parker's right wing delivery found Ameobi on the penalty spot, with Liverpool's backline pushed out hoping for an off-side. The flag did not come and Ameobi planted his header over Reina.

Buoyed, the final chance of the half saw Boumsong glance a header wide in what would prove to be his last positive contribution of an afternoon best forgot.

It would take Liverpool just seven minutes after the restart to re-assert their authority on proceedings as Boumsong's moment of madness earned an all too familiar collective groan from those in black and white.

A long ball from Liverpool's backline should have been easily dealt with but an air shot allowed Crouch in round the back and as the England striker made inroads, Boumsong grappled him to the floor with all the cunning of a WWF wrestler - that saw him not only concede a penalty but also dismissed for the most unprofessional of professional fouls.

Cisse stepped up and finished calmly for Liverpool's third before souring his moment somewhat by picking up a booking for some ill-advised baiting of the home crowd.

Thereafter and it was a case of Liverpool inviting Newcastle on and then breaking as Cisse blazed wide when he should have crossed and then substitute Luis Garcia bent an effort just past the post.

Shay Given then produced a sprawling save to deny another substitute, Xabi Alonso, from registering with a fine strike from distance.

The Newcastle keeper again showed his agility in beating away a Kromkamp shot late on but at the final whistle, Benitez will have been more than content with three points garnered from a polished display in the North East.

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Thor Zakariassen