Final Score: Newcastle United 0 Liverpool 6

AFTER a week in which Liverpool had to deal with the infantile behaviour of their leading goalscorer, it was the turn of the players wearing Newcastle United shirts to show childish tendencies.

Without the individual disgrace of resorting to biting opponents which landed Luis Suarez in trouble, the Magpies were collectively humiliated from start to finish by turning in a display of schoolboy defending.

It might have been the Suarez saga which dominated the build-up to Liverpool’s visit to Tyneside, but make no mistake about it, the real problems are resting heavily on the shoulders of Alan Pardew.

Even without the Reds’ 30- goal striker, who started a tenmatch ban for his bite on Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic six days earlier, Newcastle simply had no answer to the fluency of Liverpool’s attacking play which has heightened relegation worries around St James’ Park.

After suffering their worst home defeat in 88 years, the only reason why the boos and jeers at the final whistle were no louder was because the majority of the disgruntled supporters had already left the building.

Sometimes scorelines are not a true reflection of the 90 minutes.

Make no mistake about it, Newcastle got everything they deserved this time around.

Newcastle still have a fivepoint cushion over third-frombottom Wigan, who have a game in hand, but in shipping six goals against Liverpool, the threat of relegation is a lot greater than it was as the teams are now level on goal difference.

Striker Shola Ameobi, a survivor from relegation in 2009, is certainly not taking Premier League status for granted.

He said: “The players are worried.

It’s never nice to lose like that. We can use this to spark us, and give us a kick up the backside if you like. Nobody is too good to go down, as we found out last time.

“I’m sure the players understand that and that’s what the manager will be impressing on us this week before we go to West Ham. In the coming week it is not about how talented a team you are, it’s about how much you want it on the day.

Liverpool wanted it more than us.

“We will take stock and work out what went wrong and put it right. We think we have the right components and the ability to keep us up.”

This has been an horrendous fortnight for Newcastle. While a point at West Bromwich Albion was claimed, the two home defeats to rivals Sunderland and Liverpool have piled significant pressure on Pardew.

And while Liverpool were undeniably at their best, there is no disguising Newcastle made it incredibly easy for them. Far too many players failed to perform, although decisions like playing Moussa Sissoko as a right-winger hardly helped when Yoan Gouffran, Hatem Ben Arfa and Sylvain Marveaux were on the bench.

Going forward Newcastle had their problems, mustering just one shot on target. It was at the back, though, where Liverpool made the most of the wide spaces in front of them, with Newcastle’s unit of four looking disjointed and unresponsive.

Signs were there even before the first of the six goals, which arrived just 171 seconds in.

When Massadio Haidara headed Stewart Downing’s cross clear, the Liverpool winger’s first time second delivery was headed over Rob Elliot by the unmarked Daniel Agger leaping 12 yards out.

The lack of communication across the Newcastle backline failed to improve and the second was worse 14 minutes later when Pepe Reina’s punt turned defence in to attack.

Sturridge cushioned a volley into the path of Philipe Coutinho before turning and running in behind the Newcastle defence to pick up the return through pass.

The Northern Echo: Jordon Henderson
Jordon Henderson goes up against Cheik Tiote

With Elliot, the Newcastle goalkeeper, left with little choice but to rush out of his goal, Sturridge laid on the pass for Jordan Henderson and the former Sunderland midfielder had the simple task of finding an empty net.

For the final ten minutes of the half – when James Perch wasted a fantastic opportunity from six yards by heading Haidara’s cross wide - and the first few minutes after the restart, Newcastle looked more positive. Then Liverpool took control.

Ben Arfa, introduced at the interval along with Gouffran, lost possession near the touchline to Coutinho. The brilliant Brazilian cut inside, chipped a lovely pass in to the feet of Sturridge and Suarez’s replacement dispatched a finish high in to the top of Elliot’s net.

Sturridge - who had moved in to space while Haidara and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa had decided against tracking back - was on hand to tap in a fourth on the hour when Henderson returned the compliment following Steven Gerrard’s pass.

At that stage many Newcastle fans left; those who hung around witnessed Downing tease Haidara in the area before teeing up Fabio Borini with Liverpool’s fifth just 20 seconds after replacing the commanding Gerrard.

The Northern Echo: Phillipe Coutinho
Phillipe Coutinho, left, and Jordon Henderson, right, celebrate Daniel Agger's goal for Liverpool

And just when Pardew must have felt it could not get any worse, right-back Mathieu Debuchy was dismissed for a second yellow card for a foul on Coutinho and Henderson’s freekick evaded everyone in the box before nestling in Elliot’s bottom left corner with 14 minutes remaining.

“You can call it what you want, 6-0 is 6-0,” said Ameobi.

“It’s never nice as a team to be on the back of that sort of defeat.

“We are all disappointed in there and it is up to us to make sure we put it right come West Ham. I have seen a lot of anger in that dressing room, which is understandable. It’s not the time to start pointing fingers.

We are all in it together. That was the lowest point of the season for us.”

Where morale will drop to if Newcastle fail to stay above the bottom three does not even bear thinking about.