Football: Fowler strikes to win action replay

Liverpool 4 Newcastle United 3

Liverpool moved one point behind Manchester United at the top of the Premiership last night, but if ever a match showed why their burgeoning, bountiful talents might not earn them the prize they most desire this season this was it.

They routed Newcastle and yet, for all their swagger, for all their ample dominance, they had to rely on a goal by Robbie Fowler deep into injury time to take all three points. Such carelessness costs championships.

The final minutes were scarcely credible. Liverpool were 3-1 up and creating chances at will. It was too easy. The match was won. Then Newcastle, who had been abject, got two goals in the final four minutes through Faustino Asprilla and Warren Barton which made the unthinkable possible. Or it was until Fowler struck to spare acute home embarrassment. The scoreline was identical to last year's thriller, the circumstances somewhat different.

"To even think about having to score a last-minute winner was ridiculous," Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager, said. "A scoreline of 3-0 would have been a far fairer reflection of the match."

The first 25 minutes hardly rested naturally with the climax. The crowd bayed encouragement but the players seemed oblivious to it. Liverpool prefer patience to brag, and at times they can dally on the edge of the penalty area for an eternity without making a meaningful thrust into it.

Newcastle, content to sit back and strike on the break, were more than happy to watch their opponents pass themselves into cul-de-sacs, leaving Asprilla isolated up front in the hope he might make a meal out of a morsel. The plan appeared to be working until Liverpool destroyed it with a sudden explosive surge.

Jamie Redknapp had barely been able to judge the weight or direction of a pass, but his 40-yard ball to Jason McAteer provided a sudden switch of direction that laid Newcastle's left flank bare, and as the visitors scrambled to cover, McAteer used the space to hit a low pass across the face of the area. Fowler moved towards and then left the ball and Steve McManaman, following in behind, arced an exquisite shot beyond the dive of Shaka Hislop.

The next goal arrived while Newcastle were still trying to fathom what had gone wrong. McManaman, a bewildering wonder of twisting limbs all night, slipped a pass beyond the visiting rearguard and Fowler, brimming with menace, crashed a shot against the far post. The ball might have gone anywhere but it arrived like an invitation at Patrik Berger's feet and he passed into the empty net.

Fowler had played a part in both goals and his reward came after 42 minutes. Redknapp, suddenly able to find gaps where none appeared to exist, delivered another precise pass and Fowler gave Hislop no chance with a low shot delivered as defenders snapped at his feet.

Newcastle were well and truly deflated and a cameo played out on the side of the pitch seemed to be summing up their night. A visiting supporter, thoroughly disgusted, made his way along the touchline and threw his replica shirt at their manager, Kenny Dalglish. He was escorted away by stewards, his progress marked by boos from the black and white hordes, their disapproval not aimed at the protester.

He missed an extraordinary climax. Liverpool were rampant, carving opportunity after opportunity, so that even when Keith Gillespie wriggled past several half-hearted challenges and shot low through the arms of the tardy David James after 70 minutes it seemed unlikely to matter.

It was a wholly misleading impression. A mistake by Redknapp gave David Ginola possession on the left with four minutes remaining and his 60-yard pass bewildered Liverpool's defenders. They dithered, Asprilla nipped in and flicked the ball over the advancing James.

Anfield gasped in disbelief. But worse was to follow. Another long ball was won in the air by Barton and Asprilla's chasing resulted in the ball ricocheting back to him. Barton's shot went through at least one pair of legs and then trickled, almost tauntingly, over the line.

Liverpool looked thoroughly distressed, but they summoned one last attack down the left. Stig Inge Bjornebye launched a long cross and Fowler sprang to head past Hislop from close range. It should not have been necessary to decide it this way.

Liverpool (3-5-2): James; Kvarme, Wright, Matteo; McAteer, McManaman, Redknapp, Barnes, Bjornebye; Berger, Fowler. Substitutes not used: Collymore, Harkness, Ruddock, Kennedy, Warner (gk).

Newcastle United (4-1-4-1): Hislop; Watson, Peacock, Albert, Elliott; Batty; Gillespie, Barton, Clark (Ginola, h-t), Beardsley (Ferdinand, h- t; Crawford, 55); Asprilla. Substitutes not used: Beresford, Srnicek (gk).

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow).

Results, page 23

Top of Premiership

P W D L F A Pts

Man Utd 29 16 9 4 57 33 57

Liverpool 29 16 8 5 50 24 56

Arsenal 30 15 9 6 49 26 54

Newcastle 28 14 6 8 54 35 48

Aston Villa 29 13 7 9 35 27 46

Sheff Wed 28 11 12 5 37 32 45

Wimbledon 27 12 8 7 39 32 44

Chelsea 27 11 10 6 42 38 43

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand labelled 'left-wing commie scum' by Fox News
TV
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Thame i...

Graduate Project Manager

£25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Drama Teacher

£110 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a Drama tea...

Science teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a languages...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past