After The Match 


NEWCASTLE-LIVERPOOL 1-1 (0-1)        Sat Dec 6.             Premier League
Goals: Murphy (5)       Shearer (61 pen)
Team: Kirkland, Otsemobor, Hyypia, Biscan, Riise, Gerrard, Hamann, Murphy, Diouf, Heskey, Pongolle
Subs: Smicer (Pongolle 50)
Not used: Luzi, Diao, Traore, Le Tallec
Yellow: Otsemobor (29), Kirkland (61), Hamann (66), Diouf (70)    Bramble (80)
Red: None
Referee: Graham Poll (Hertfordshire)
Attendance: 52.151

                                                             FIXTURES & RESULTS 
On target: 6-3
Off target: 7-4
Fouls: 13-13
Corne:rs 8-1
Yellow: 1-4
Red: 0-0





"The response was
full of pride and
very positive..."

                 Gerard Houllier

0712: GH praises world class Didi
0712: Boss explains Heskey withdrawn role
0612: Houllier happy with draw
0612: Shearer rescues Newcastle


GH praises world class Didi

LFC Official Website

Gerard Houllier sung the praises of German midfielder Dietmar Hamann for his performance in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle, with the boss calling him world class.

Houllier felt Hamann gave a performance worthy of the ones he produced in the World Cup Finals with Germany, and said he played a major role for the team at St James' Park.

Hamann was booed and taunted throughout by his former supporters at Newcastle but that seemed to inspire him and he played a pivotal role just in front of the back four for Liverpool.

Houllier said: "Didi brought great experience to the side and marshalled the midifield superbly. He played very well.

"Don't forget he's fresh because he hasn't played a lot of games this season. I would say he produced a World Cup performance for us today. He almost scored as well with a great shot that brought a good save out of Given."

Boss explains Heskey withdrawn role

LFC Official Website

Gerard Houllier defended his decision to play just one striker up front at Newcastle and explained he put Emile Heskey in a withdrawn role to help out the midfield.

The Reds manager, without the injured Michael Owen and Harry Kewell, said he needed more strength in midfield to combat Newcastle's attacks and felt he needed a more skilful player like Florent Sinama-Pongolle and then Vladimir Smicer as the lone front runner.

Houllier said: "We were without six key players today, including two players who score 60 per cent of our goals. What am I to do? We had to show other qualities today and I think we did that.

"There's two reasons why Emile played a slightly withdrawn role today. I don't like to use a lone striker who just holds the ball up and waits for midfielders to join in. I don't do that. I want a threat up there, someone who can find the spaces and cause problems.

"Florent did it well in the first half and then Vladi did it when we took Flo off. Florent worked hard up there on his own and I didn't want to burn him out up there, that's why I took him off. He is only a young boy and we have to be careful.

"It nearly worked because of the chance Vladi had towards the end. I wasn't tempted to put Emile up alongside him because I knew they would throw everything at us. We had to keep it tight in midfield."

Houllier happy with draw

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier said he thought his side fully deserved their point at Newcastle.

Houllier lambasted his players after their Carling Cup defeat by Bolton in midweek, but he was pleased they bounced back to secure a 1-1 draw at St James' Park.

"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," said Houllier.

"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."

Influential midfielder Dietmar Hamann admitted watching Liverpool was not pretty at the moment but said the way they played was a necessity as they sought to break through a bad patch.

"We were quite in control of the game until the penalty but we can't complain about the draw," said the former Newcastle player.

"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," he added.

Shearer rescues Newcastle

BBC Sport Online

Alan Shearer's second-half penalty rescued a point for Newcastle as both sides missed the chance to go fourth in the Premiership.

Liverpool looked destined for that position after Danny Murphy's early opener, a bundled effort following some hapless Newcastle defending.

But Shearer rattled in his 11th goal of the season to level on 62 minutes.

Bobby Robson's side should have gone on to win from there, but were denied by some desperate defending.

This is a fixture that conjures up images of seven-goal thrillers, though in recent meetings a single goal has been enough to separate the pair.

When Murphy opened the scoring following Liverpool's first attack in the sixth minute, the former seemed the more likely scenario.

In reality, the early strike put the shackles on the game and, for almost an hour, looked likely to prove enough for victory.

The goal itself was shambolic from a defensive point of view.

John Arne Riise's hopeful cross was missed by both central defenders, allowing Murphy a free run into the penalty area.

His first touch was unconvincing, but his second was enough to scuff the ball past the outrushing Shay Given and give Liverpool a crucial advantage.

The home side's response was tame, two Jermaine Jenas long rangers causing little trouble and Shola Ameobi seeing a low shot smothered by Chris Kirkland after Kieron Dyer had sent him clear.

Liverpool, despite sitting deep throughout, looked menacing on the break.

But they were denied a crucial second goal five minutes after half-time when Given held well from a Steven Gerrard volley having already parried from Florent Sinama Pongolle.

Sensing a let-off, the home side finally came out of their shell.

Robert was an inch away from equalising when his well-executed free-kick curled just wide on the hour.

But the breakthrough arrived when Robert was felled by the hesitant Kirkland after Dyer had opened up Liverpool's stubborn defence with a clever pass.

Kirkland was booked for protesting and Shearer increased the punishment by slamming his penalty in off the underside of the crossbar.

The equaliser prompted a spell of one-way traffic as Bobby Robson's side poured forward in search of a winner.

Dyer looked as though he had supplied it when his side-foot shot beat Kirkland but was spectacularly headed away by Riise.

Seconds later, Murphy came to Liverpool's rescue when he cleared off the line from Nolberto Solano's low shot.

But for all Newcastle's pressure, they almost contrived to gift Liverpool victory when Titus Bramble was outmuscled by substitute Vladimir Smicer, only for the Czech midfielder to poke wide.

Dietmar Hamann came close to a late winner against his former club, but his crisp volley was excellently saved at full stretch by Given.

Then, finally, Kirkland produced a magnificent fingertip stop to deny Shearer a dramatic late winner after a neat lay-off from Dyer.

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Thor Zakariassen