The exquisite finish Michael Owen applied to a classic Liverpool move kept a seasonal glint of silverware in the collective eye of Roy Evans' team, and left Ian Rush and Newcastle needing to win at Stevenage to keep alive their own hopes of winning a trophy.
Newcastle chose to advertise the Coca-Cola Cup quarter-final as the tie in which Rush stood to emerge ahead of Geoff Hurst as outright claimant of the League Cup scoring record with his 50th goal in the competition. Instead, Newcastle were broken by the teenager who eclipsed Rush's old record for the Deeside Primary Schools XI.
Owen, a finishing article in the Rush-of-old mould, struck his 11th goal of the season from Robbie Fowler's pass into the Newcastle area. It was only half an invitation; Owen still had to round his marker and clip the ball over Shaka Hislop.
It was a goal worthy of winning any game but it was followed by a second, scored from close range by Fowler.
It would have been an injustice had the tie been decided by penalties. Newcastle showed some attacking teeth after Kenny Dalglish sent on Jon Dahl Tomasson and Temuri Ketsbaia in the second half but Liverpool were worthy winners.
Having seen his side bitten twice by Steve McManaman snap-shots in the League meeting 10 days previously, Dalglish chose Aaron Hughes to perform the thankless task of man-to-McManaman marking duties in his first game as a fully fledged Magpie.
McManaman orchestrated the ninth-minute move which produced the first chance, playing a wall pass with Fowler and teeing up Oyvind Leonhardsen, who shot into the side netting from the left edge of the area. It was the pace and guile of Owen, though, that emerged as the sharpest threat to Newcastle as Liverpool forced a flood of chances before half-time.
Newcastle emerged from their dressing-room a different team. The substitutes Tomasson and Ketsbaia did more in the opening six minutes of the second half than their colleagues had in the preceding 45: they seriously threatened to score.
Ketsbaia, indeed, should have done so when Tomasson's cross found him unmarked on the right angle of the six-yard box. With the goal at his mercy, however, the Georgian sliced a volley wide.
Newcastle fashioned other openings, but when David James grasped John Barnes's long-ranger in injury time their chance had gone.
Newcastle United (4-1-3-2): Hislop; Watson, Peacock, Albert (Ketsbaia, h-t), Beresford; Hughes; Gillespie (Tomasson, h-t), Batty, Lee; Barnes, Rush. Substitute not used: Given (gk).
Liverpool (4-4-2): James; McAteer, Babb, Matteo, Harkness; McManaman, Ince, Redknapp, Leonhardsen; Fowler, Owen (Riedle, 118). Substitutes not used: Carragher, Friedel (gk).
Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury).Reuse content