Liverpool showed few signs of missing the suspended Luis Suarez as they inflicted an ignominious 6-0 defeat on relegation-threatened Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
At the end of a trying week for the Merseysiders that saw their star man Suarez banned for 10 games for biting Branislav Ivanovic, Brendan Rodgers’s side responded in the best possible way with their biggest win of the season.
Daniel Agger put Liverpool on their way to victory inside three minutes and Jordan Henderson soon added a second. A quick-fire double from Daniel Sturridge after the break put the result beyond doubt before Fabio Borini added a fifth. Newcastle defender Mathieu Debucy was shown his marching orders with 15 minutes remaining and Henderson curled in the subsequent free-kick to rub salt into the deep wounds of the home side.
The result leaves Newcastle on 37 points and still very much looking over their shoulders as they look to ensure their Premier League status. With five points separating them from third-from-bottom Wigan Athletic, Newcastle should survive but it remains to be seen how much damage such a heavy defeat will do the team’s morale.
Newcastle looked in trouble form the off and their defending left plenty to be desired as Agger was left completely free on the edge of the six-yard box to head the opening goal.
In the 17th minute it was 2-0 when Newcastle’s defense was cut wide open and Rob Elliot again left woefully exposed this time from a through ball by Philippe Coutinho that enabled Sturridge to slide the ball across for Henderson to side-foot into an unguarded net.
Coutinho was again at the heart of things to put Liverpool 3-0 up nine minutes after the break when his run down the left led to a fine pass inside for Sturridge to finish.
Four minutes later Henderson returned Sturridge’s favor from the first half as, clean through, he slid the ball across for the striker to crash another shot past the beleaguered Elliot.
In such a one-sided match, substitute Borini took full advantage to get his first league goal for Liverpool with a low shot after good work from Stewart Downing.
Things went from bad to worse for the home side when Debuchy was shown red for a poor challenge on Coutinho and Henderson’s free-kick from the left traveled all the way through to creep inside the far post.