It”s New Year”s Steve! Gerrard adds sparkle after Bellamy double
Steven Gerrard was in celebratory mood after signing off a ‘terrible year’ by inspiring Liverpool to only their second home win since September.
The England midfielder was introduced against Newcastle with the score at 1-1 but his 30-minute cameo lifted Liverpool to a different level as they won 3-1 – his goal sealing victory following a Craig Bellamy double.
Gerrard’s 2011 has been ruined by injury but, after returning as a substitute against Blackburn on Boxing Day following nine games out, he looked sharp on Friday night.
Gerrard joy: Liverpool”s captain celebrates scoring their third
‘It’s good to be back,’ he said. ‘I have had a terrible year with a lot of injuries and I’m delighted to be back. We have not got what we deserved recently and have played well without getting maximum points but this was well deserved. It was important we scored three goals as we have been criticised for not scoring enough.
Gerrard also had sympathy for 35million striker Andy Carroll, whose poor form in front of goal continued. ‘The big man has been unlucky and if he keeps applying himself then the goals will be just around the corner for him,’ said the Liverpool captain.
Nuts: Gerrard slides the ball between Tim Krul”s legs
The game was marred by a dreadful tackle from Yohan Cabaye on Jay Spearing but Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said: ‘There was no malice in that tackle. I don’t think they will look at it.’
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said: ‘I didn’t see it. If it was a bad one, I’m sure the FA will take appropriate action.’
Pardew bemoaned an off night from his side. He was scathing about the defending for Bellamy’s second goal – when keeper Tim Krul and defender Danny Simpson collided.
Relief: Gerrard had endured a torrid 2011
Pardew said Gerrard had made the difference, adding: ‘He gives them impetus and lifted the stadium. He is a great player and affected the game.
‘The second goal changed it. We were having a good period. It was never a foul in the first place. Then we have made an error on the free-kick and let a sloppy one in. We could have been better.’
Bellamy said: ‘When I saw Danny Simpson going back on the line, I thought “Make sure you get it on target and hopefully someone will get on the end of it”.’
High five: Liverpool moved up to fifth
It was his fifth goal in four games against former club Newcastle although, typically, Bellamy’s night was not without controversy.
The forward suffered a cut in a clash with Fabricio Coloccini, then became involved in a heated exchange with Newcastle keeper Tim Krul.