A match for all seasons

The man hailed as a messiah on Tyneside is shaken by the critics after a game famed for its good vibrations
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The Independent Online
At 8pm last Wednesday Newcastle United kicked off at Anfield needing a victory to draw level on points with Manchester United

Collymore: It's a shame for players when a game is going at that sort of pace because you haven't time to comprehend what's going on. I've never played in a match like that - not when you consider what was at stake and the sense of theatre surrounding it. In one of the few moments when things calmed down I remember standing with Steve Watson on halfway and he said to me "It's free-for-all isn't it?" The feeling generally was one of disbelief.

Lee: People have been coming up to me ever since last Wednesday and telling me what a joy it must have been to have played in the match of the season, maybe the match of the decade. It wasn't. I would have been happier to have played in a boring game where we sneaked a goal and won 1-0. Results are all that matter.

Liverpool 1 Newcastle 0 (2 min)

Collymore: We were very positive from the kick-off, and I remember Rob Jones playing the ball to me on the left. I had my back to goal on the edge of the 18-yard box, managed to turn Steve Watson and get a cross in which had enough pace and height for Robbie Fowler to get on the end of. Getting crosses in has been something I've worked on this season, so that was very pleasing.

Lee: We seem to give teams a goal start. Before the game we'd been talking about not conceding an early goal and then we go and do it.

Liverpool 1 Newcastle 1 (10 min)

Collymore: We were disappointed not to get in a challenge on Asprilla earlier. I think he jinked his way between Mark Wright and Neil Ruddock. Great finish, though.

Lee: I sensed we were playing well, even though we'd gone behind. Les's strike after Tino's great little run confirmed that.

Liverpool 1 Newcastle 2 (14 min)

Collymore: We were caught ragged. McAteer had pushed a little too far forward, and with David Ginola having that sort of time and space there was only going to be one result. Lately when we've gone 1-0 up it's usually stayed like that, so for Newcastle to come back and go in 2-1 up at half- time was quite an achievement. But we knew that if we kept our heads and continued playing the same way we could still win.

Lee: To get another one so quickly was fantastic. But the fact is we were creating chances and looking like scoring all the way through.

Liverpool 2 Newcastle 2 (55 min)

Collymore: I was quite deep on the left. I gave Jamie Redknapp the ball, Jamie got it wide to Steve McManaman and I got near the box. Steve pulled the ball across and Robbie was there right on cue.

Lee: We could have been 3-1 up just after half-time. As I got into the box and was about to shoot, Neil Ruddock caught me and there I was on the ground as the ball came off David James. If I'd been on my feet I would have put home the rebound. But the ball hit me on the shoulder and Tino was also denied the chance. If that had gone in, the match would have been over.

Liverpool 2 Newcastle 3 (57 min)

Collymore: You would have thought by now people would have come to their senses a bit. But again we were caught quite deep. Les Ferdinand played the ball through to Asprilla. All the goals were quality and this was no exception. He didn't break his stride, took it with the outside of his foot and curled it round David James as he came out. So it broke our hearts again, but even then we felt we still had a chance.

Lee: A brilliant goal. Tino still had plenty to do after I put the ball through to him and I don't think anyone else in the country would have finished the way he did and with such style. People criticise Tino, saying he has upset the balance of the team, but he makes such great runs and has outstanding skills. He draws defenders to him, creating space for other players, and his finishing is exceptional. He gives us another dimension,.

Liverpool 3 Newcastle 3 (68 min)

Collymore: McAteer put a great ball in, I attacked the box and knocked it past Pavel Srnicek. It was curling away from the goalkeeper. When I struck it, the ball was coming back into me. We felt then that the game was there for the taking.

Lee: Even when Collymore scored I still thought we would win the game. I couldn't see us losing it.

Liverpool 4 Newcastle 3 (90 min)

Collymore: These are the moments you savour. John Barnes and Ian Rush were both teeing themselves up for the shot but couldn't quite work the space. I'd moved to the left and Steve Watson got sucked into the middle. The ball came to me and I had to decide whether to hit it straightaway or take a touch. As it was I took a touch and gave myself a bit more time. It's funny when you're a striker - sometimes you have a good feeling about things and I knew once I'd taken my first touch that I would score. When it was all over? Elation. I'd not had the best of FA Cup semi-finals, so it was nice to make up for it in a very big game.

Lee: We were all trying to get back. Everyone was closing down John Barnes and Ian Rush when Barnes rolled the ball to Collymore. It was totally devastating when it went in. I just felt so sad for us all - the players, the management, those amazing fans. When you score three goals away from home you expect to win. But nobody felt the championship was over.

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