Newcastle United 3 Liverpool 1

FOR someone who gains inspiration from Vince Lombardi’s techniques, Alan Pardew can be satisfied he has inherited a squad at Newcastle United already possessing the sort of desire the legendary former Green Bay Packers coach craved.

Lombardi once famously said ‘it’s not that you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up’ and at St James’ Park the Magpies showed the fighting spirit that became something of a hallmark of the Chris Hughton era.

After the final whistle had blown Pardew, an avid admirer of Lombardi’s motivational skills, chose to turn and head down the tunnel to leave Newcastle’s players embracing the applause.

This has been a difficult, traumatic week for them, even by the standards set in previous years on Tyneside.

Yet, despite seven days in which Newcastle had lost at West Brom and lost Hughton, one of the club’s strangest appointments started his reign with a victory. Not just any victory either, a comprehensive one over Liverpool.

Pardew played it perfectly.

On an afternoon when angry supporters protested against the Ashley regime outside the main entrance and hurled uncomplimentary chants in his direction, the manager kept a low profile.

He will know the result was largely down to the character and team spirit of a squad moulded by his predecessor.

Nevertheless Pardew has at least witnessed at first hand the sort of performance in adversity for which Newcastle were renowned under Hughton.

Pardew was reluctant to share in the post-match celebrations, as Newcastle rightly took great satisfaction from defeating a club they had lost against in their four previous meeting, conceding 14 goals.

At least he knows about the importance of the crowd.

“I wasn’t in any position to milk the applause,” said Pardew, joined in the dugout by Steve Stone, while Peter Beardsley took his place in the stands after leading training throughout last week.

“My tenure here has only just begun and although it was a great victory, I only played a very small part. I clapped the fans as I went down the tunnel because I was so pleased with the noise levels. It’s amazing.

“I couldn’t even get a message to my right winger, who was only 20 yards away, so that’s something I’ll have to think about. Maybe I’ll have to learn sign language.”

With Newcastle sitting in mid-table before he took over and without a win in five, Pardew was quick to suggest “there were plenty things” he didn’t like. That is understandable.

But Newcastle, having successfully knocked three beyond Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, now sit eighth and he will also know there are reasons to be optimistic. He has not inherited a pool of players destined for the Championship, like he did at Charlton.

“The win makes life a lot easier for my management and I’m pleased about that because it’s a nice foundation to build on,”

he said. “We can be effective if we get the balance back.”

When he took over on Thursday, the first member of the dressing room he spoke to was Kevin Nolan, who had reassured him the players did not hold him responsible for the sacking of Hughton.

And Pardew felt confident enough within 15 minutes to question the positioning of Sol Campbell before he turned away shaking his head at something the defender had not done to his liking.

That took place as Joey Barton shaped up to float over a free-kick. As Pardew turned around, Andy Carroll had jumped ahead of Sotiros Kyrgiakos to head into the path of Nolan, who struck the opener low beyond Reina.

Liverpool had their chances to equalise before they did, but Newcastle were also unfortunate not to increase their advantage, with Barton and Cheik Tiote driving the midfield.

Carroll proved a real menace in attack.

But Liverpool broke through next, just four minutes after half-time. Campbell’s display was a concern for Pardew, with the 36-year-old defender culpable for the equaliser.

Campbell turned his back and Paul Konchesky’s cross hit the back of his head before falling for Dirk Kuyt.

Kuyt turned and his tame shot deflected off Steven Taylor and rolled into Tim Krul’s bottom left corner.

When Fernando Torres, who finally came into the game albeit short of his best, was denied by Krul twice in the space of the next few minutes, Newcastle could quite easily have folded.

Instead Pardew, whose decision to introduce the pace of Nile Ranger for the injured Shola Ameobi significantly altered the flow of the game, was left heartened by the team’s desire to deliver – particularly the attitude of two of his leaders.

“Sometimes it’s about getting the balance and we managed to get that without disrupting much because we’ve got good senior players who know this game can change quickly,” said Pardew.

It was Barton’s second half display, the quality of which would ordinarily demand an England call-up, which epitomised Newcastle’s spirit to finish the job.

He had already sent over a fantastic cross for Carroll to head over before he put Newcastle, who had also gone close through Ranger, ahead ten minutes from time.

Krul’s long punt was flicked on by Carroll. Ranger helped the ball into space for the onrushing Barton to stab Newcastle’s second past Reina.

If Ashley, who hugged his partner and then managing director Derek Llambias in celebration, looked relieved, he was even more so in injury-time.

Jose Enrique’s driving run down the left ended with a pass inside for Carroll.

The England striker, afforded far too much space by an exposed Liverpool midfield, then took two touches before unleashing a thunderous drive into Reina’s bottom left corner from 25 yards with his powerful left foot.

It is quite clearly far too early for Pardew to suggest Kevin Keegan was wrong for claiming Newcastle are “going nowhere”

under Ashley, but the manager has high ambitions to fulfil.

“I have a long-term vision and that’s to create a team that can threaten the top-half of the Premier League because, get there, and the momentum can take you higher,” he said.

With Pardew’s perfect start complete, he now must ensure he continues to avoid the sort of criticism being directed at Ashley.

If Newcastle’s latest boss succeeds, he can think back to where it all started at St James’ Park and of Lombardi’s words again.

“The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory.”

Match facts


1-0: Nolan (15mins, struck low to beat Reina from Carroll’s knock down)

1-1: Kuyt (50, his tame shot given significant help to roll beyond Krul by Taylor’s boot)

2-1: Barton (83, poked beyond Reina after Carroll and Ranger combined)

3-1: Carroll (90, turned and fired low beyond Reina from 25 yards)

Bookings: Johnson (19, foul); Gutierrez (78, foul); Tiote (83, foul)

Referee: Lee Mason (Stockport) – for some reason he infuriated the supporters when, by and large, he was up with play 6

Attendance: 50,137

Entertainment: ✰✰✰


7 Krul: The term safe hands can be used, although Liverpool didn’t really test him;

7 Simpson: Never gave Rodriguez a look-in down the flank

7 Taylor: His performance ensured Torres was stifled, even if he helped Kuyt’s equaliser beyond Krul

4 Campbell: Made his fair share of blocks but looked a shadow of his former self on too many occasions

7 Enrique: Was superb defensively and he was also effective moving forward; 9BARTON: Scored the second but his all-round display was outstanding

7 Nolan: Opened the scoring and ensured the dressing room was united after a difficult week

8 Tiote: Was the midfielder in the middle of the pitch that ran things

7 Gutierrez: Pushed forward and caused problems for the Liverpool defence;

5 Ameobi: Linked well with Carroll but looked in some discomfort as he left the pitch

9 Carroll: An incredible strike for the third goal after an exceptional display from start to finish


Ranger (for Ameobi 63): Went close with a great chance seconds after introduction. 6

Smith (for Nolan 86)

Routledge (for Barton 90)

(not used): Harper (gk), Guthrie, Lovenkrands, Perch.

LIVERPOOL (4-4-2):

Reina 5; Johnson 4, Kyrgiakos 5, Skrtel 5, Konchesky 4; Kuyt 6, Lucas 6, MEIRELES 7, Rodriguez 5 (Jovanovic 85); Ngog 6 (Babel 72), Torres 5.

Subs: Jones (gk), Aurelio, Cole, Poulsen, Kelly.


JOEY Barton – epitomised the togetherness in the dressing room with a display from the heart.