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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 March, 2005, 16:54 GMT
Newcastle 1-0 Liverpool
Laurent Robert
A superb free-kick from Laurent Robert was enough to earn Newcastle victory against a below-par Liverpool side that ran out of ideas at St James' Park.

The Frenchman curled in a majestic 25-yarder on 70 minutes, giving debutant keeper Scott Carson no chance.

And Liverpool - who were missing among others Fernando Morientes - never looked likely to get back on terms.

Shay Given was a spectator in the home goal and he watched on gratefully as Steven Gerrard shot wide in extra-time.

Injury-hit Liverpool added Morientes, Djimi Traore, Harry Kewell and Dietmar Hamann to an already-long casualty list.

And they gave a first start to 19-year-old Carson, leaving Jerzy Dudek to nurse a Carling Cup final-induced shin injury on the bench.

The debutant was barely troubled in a scrappy first-half of few chances.

But his weak punch from a Robert corner presented the ball to Titus Bramble, who blasted high and wide.

Carson then watched thankfully as Shola Ameobi failed to direct his header on target from a superb Stephen Carr cross.

These were isolated highlights, however and a boisterous Newcastle crowd took it upon themselves to roar their team to life after the break.

They voiced considerable displeasure at a number of referee Howard Webb's decisions.

But their mood improved midway through the half, when Robert executed the perfect free-kick from wide on the right.

Newcastle skipper Alan Shearer, who had been presented with a special award to mark his 250th Premiership goal before kick-off, barely got a chance all afternoon.

And substitute Patrick Kluivert missed a great opportunity to make the game safe late on.

But none of this will matter to the home fans, who saw their side seal a fifth-straight win after Liverpool captain Gerrard had fired wide in extra time.

  • Newcastle boss Graeme Souness:
    "Robert had an excellent game. I am very happy with him.

    "We have a love-hate relationship. He loves me and I love him, and then we want to bash each other up.

    "For the first 20 minutes Liverpool were better than us, they were sharper to everything. But after that, I think we bossed it."

  • Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez:
    "It was a disappointing day, but if you see the game they only had chances from set pieces.

    "I think we played very good football in the first half and controlled the game, but after the break they played better and we didn't keep the ball.

    "We had to give Scott Carson a start and I would not blame him for the goal. Laurent Robert shoots very well."

    Newcastle: Given, Carr, Bramble, Boumsong, Hughes, Dyer (Butt 88), Faye, Bowyer (Jenas 77), Robert, Shearer, Ameobi (Kluivert 67).
    Subs Not Used: Harper, Taylor.

    Booked: Faye, Robert.

    Goal: Robert 70.

    Liverpool: Carson, Finnan, Pellegrino (Le Tallec 82), Hyypia, Carragher, Luis Garcia, Biscan, Smicer (Nunez 75), Gerrard, Riise, Baros (Warnock 88).
    Subs Not Used: Dudek, Welsh.

    Booked: Gerrard, Smicer.

    Attendance: 52,323

    Referee: H Webb (S Yorkshire).

    Interview: Newcastle manager Graeme Souness

    Interview: Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez

    Interview: Newcastle striker Alan Shearer

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