Steven Gerrard crowned Liverpool’s fourth home league win of the season with a decisive strike in victory over Newcastle United at Anfield.
After Yohan Cabaye’s header gave the visitors the lead, Craig Bellamy struck twice either side of half-time against his former club.
The stage appeared set for Andy Carroll to return to form, but after he struck the bar with a header, Gerrard later popped up to seal the points.
Kenny Dalglish’s side were looking to improve on a run of one win from their last six home games, while Newcastle were searching for their first win on Merseyside for 17 years.
Despite it being 15 years since the infamous 4-3 game between the two sides, the opening minutes provided little of the cut and thrust football that particular Premier League evening showcased.
The opening goal came in a manner which typified the start of the contest, as Cabaye’s flicked header took a wicked deflection off Daniel Agger before wrong footing Pepe Reina.
The home side reacted instantly, with Bellamy finding the corner after Cheik Tiote’s clearance fell straight to the Welshman inside the box.
Chances were few and far between thereafter, until Bellamy’s free-kick, awarded after Tiote’s foul on the marauding Daniel Agger, deflected off Danny Simpson and evaded goalkeeper Tim Krul.
Demba Ba almost equalised immediately, but saw his goal bound effort hooked away by Martin Skrtel before Carroll should have put the result beyond doubt, but clattered the bar from substitute Gerrard’s cross.
The skipper, who was making his second appearance since recovering from an infected foot, put the icing on the cake for the hosts, sliding home after being played in by Jordan Henderson.
The win works as an ideal end to an up and down 2011 for Liverpool, while Newcastle appear consigned to play second fiddle to the top six in the Barclays Premier League after their fifth defeat of the season.
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