Liverpool Echo report
WHAT a difference a goal makes. It was all set to be another one of those "frustrating draws". Then the mood was transformed by a late winner from a man who craves success at Liverpool as much as any other player in the squad.
Jamie Redknapp cherished the moment as his 88th minute winner sent the punters home delighted. Had the goal not come, it would have been another report of points dropped and chances missed.
The Reds deserved it. Newcastle were excellent defensively, but the opening period of the second half should have seen Liverpool out of sight.
Titi Camara's fine goal ought to have been followed swiftly by a second from Steven Gerrard. Given's save at the midfielder's feet would have been the defining moment of the match had Redknapp not made his dramatic late contribution.
Ironically, Liverpool grabbed a winner during a period when it was Newcastle who looked set for an unlikely victory.
Having shown an unwillingness to venture forward for 70 minutes, Alan Shearer's equaliser inspired the visitors to go in search of the winner, and but for a save by Sander Westerveld they might have got it.
Shearer was brilliant on Saturday. Why a minority decided to try to boo him during the early stages is a matter for them and their brain cells, but Anfield is usually a place where great players are appreciated. Shearer needed only one chance all afternoon and he took it in style.
At the time, his header from Aaron Hughes' cross was Newcastle's first attack, but in the following moments Liverpool were rocked. Kieron Dyer almost grabbed the lead from Kevin Gallacher's cross, but the Reds had Westerveld to thank for a timely save when it mattered.
Then the substitutions did the trick. It's no fluke, either. A Liverpool substitute has come off the bench and scored on eight occasions this season.
Danny Murphy's brilliant delivery also made it possible after a succession of poor corners earlier in the game.
However, Liverpool's lack of punch in attack without Michael Owen is a cause for concern. At half-time, it would have been a stretch of the imagination to suggest they would score once, let alone twice.
Emile Heskey was again doing his best work on the flanks. When he gets the confidence to leave defenders chasing his shadow in a central position instead of near the touchline he will be some force.
The potential is there, quite visibly, but it's fair to say opponents aren't being hurt enough by the new man just yet. Still, at least the 'Bruno' chant has stopped, which will be to everyone's relief.
Bobby Robson was clearly worried enough by what Heskey could do, recalling Alain Goma to follow him around the park.
For the first half at least, a goal never looked likely from either side. Apart from the first 10 seconds, that is, when David Thompson looked as though he had given the Reds a perfect start before his 'goal' was ruled out for a push.
The man who eventually broke the deadlock was the star of the show. Titi Camara buried a half volley at the start of the second in a fashion that would have won the admiration of Robbie Fowler.
A great finish from Gerrard's cross was the least Camara deserved for another afternoon of wonderful entertainment.
This guy is worthy of a starting place, even when everyone is fit. He's now the club's top scorer this season. He's also one of the players of the year, so if Owen returns against Coventry as you'd expect, Camara will feel rightly aggrieved if he's the man to make way.
Gerard Houllier evidently had one or two strong words for his side at half-time, because they re-appeared with more urgency and determination. With Gerrard bombing forward at every opportunity, the difference was massive and it was the youngster's break through the centre that led to the first goal.
Fortunately, he won't have to worry to much about what went wrong with the chance he missed moments later, but the back-heel by Camara that sent him clean through was worthy of a goal.
Sami Hyypia, who might as well add the word "outstanding" to his name such is the regularity it appears near it, was also denied by a point blank save by Given before the seemingly impossible happened.
Just when the question was being asked, 'What are Newcastle doing in Liverpool's half?', they scored.
Robson's immediate tactical switch had the desired effect as when they did decide to attack, they looked threatening. Duncan Ferguson, who only stops being a danger when the final whistle goes, also blasted over when if anyone looked like winning, it was Newcastle.
But the last word came from the Liverpool skipper.
Murphy delivered and Redknapp headed into the top corner to end the run of home draws. It also ended the run of Liverpool failing to win when they've lost the toss. That's one thing Hyypia has to work on!
After four months of sitting on the sidelines, Redknapp's ecstasy was understandable. He's been to every game since his operation, willing his team-mates on from the sidelines and seeing an impressive run emerge in his absence. He's also watched the excellent Gerrard take his place admirably.
On Saturday, Redknapp not only scored the crucial winner, but he was in fine form after the 2-1 victory too, rebuking those who had dared to suggest he was on the "up for sale" list.
"It's amazing how your value goes down when you're injured," he said pointedly to those who wrote he was leaving the club for �8m this summer. A second strike of the afternoon!
"It was the most fulfilling goal of my career," he added.
Come May, with the Champions League now in touching distance, its value could be measured in millions.
LIVERPOOL: Westerveld, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Matteo; Berger (sub Murphy 85), Hamann, Gerrard (sub Redknapp 78), Thompson (sub Meijer 75); Heskey, Camara. Subs (not used): Friedel, Song.
NEWCASTLE: Given; Hughes, Dabizas, Goma (sub Domi 57), Howey, Barton; Lee (sub Gallacher 65), Dyer, Speed; Ferguson, Shearer. Subs (not used): Ketsbaia, Antunes, Harper.
Referee: Paul Durkin (Dorset). Didn't get the book out too much and showed the kind of constraint now common to most referees. Rating: 3.
Goals: Camara (52), Shearer (68), Redknapp (88).
Star man: TITI CAMARA.
© Liverpool Daily Post & Echo