Liverpool's £35m striker Andy Carroll finds only humiliation on Newcastle homecoming

Newcastle United 2 Liverpool 0

St James' Park

There was an attempt yesterday afternoon, as the enormity of Liverpool's capitulation was still sinking in, to rebolt the doors and hammer wood over the smashed windows.

But by then it was too late. By the time Kenny Dalglish tried to understate the size of the disaster which unfolded at St James' Park in front of the nation, intruders were in and the only question now is quite where Liverpool move on from here?

There are seminal moments in the history of a football club. Andy Carroll's 79th-minute substitution and the tirade he aimed at his own bench as a result will become one, either as an admission that Liverpool erred horrendously in the £35m acquisition of the player 15 months ago, or that the manager who made the decision is no longer equipped to get the best out of the near £120m the Fenway Sports Group have so far given him to rebuild one of England's great institutions.

They did not feel like one yesterday, and certainly they did not look or act like one when Phil Dowd, the fourth official, informed a baying Tyneside crowd that the Liverpool No 9, their former No 9, was being taken off. It felt cruel because there have been miserable afternoons for Carroll since he flew away from the Newcastle training ground in owner Mike Ashley's helicopter, but nothing to compare with what he went through for 79 tortuous minutes yesterday. Those 15 months were encapsulated in that period of time.

His first homecoming did not start well; in fact it began awfully and it never got any better. He touched the ball after 10 seconds and was jeered. After 25 seconds some Newcastle fans verbally abused him. After 88 seconds he lost possession with an ambitious chip. And then in the ninth minute, it all simply became too much for him.

It will be forgotten that Carroll beat Mike Williamson in the air and went past James Perch as if he were still wearing black and white. Scientists have proven that time does not really stand still at those life-defining moments, but here it felt like it did.

Carroll, one on one, had only to go round goalkeeper Tim Krul to bury so much personal misery and put the ball into an empty goal to silence the abusers. And he did put the ball past the Dutchman, but at that point crashed to the ground, and every Newcastle supporter leapt in the air. Krul gesticulated furiously that it had been a dive, and as Martin Atkinson flashed a yellow card for that exact offence, Carroll's career must have flashed before his eyes. He would not accept that he had dived, furiously arguing with the the Newcastle bench moments after launching a tirade at Alan Pardew, his former manager.

Then, with 11 minutes remaining, as Carroll's number was up and he walked off, came more abuse directed at his own dugout, who genuinely looked taken aback by the hostility. Among those words appeared to be something along the lines of "effin, joke this", and they are phrases you simply cannot direct at your boss, wherever you work.

Carroll was not done, storming down the tunnel without acknowledgment for Dalglish, the manager who paid all that money for him what feels like such a long time ago.

By then Liverpool trailed by two goals, the old king had been replaced by a new one, Papiss Cissé, and watching all this high in the stands sat Ashley and Derek Llambias, the men who oversaw the sale of a developing Geordie icon, and took flak for the decision.

They were smiling a lot yesterday, especially after the second, game-clinching goal scored by the new No 9, Cissé, the one Llambias and Ashley spent £9m on in January, almost a quarter of the Carroll fee for a player whose two goals yesterday took his tally to seven from seven starts. The comparison is cutting. Carroll has five from 21.

Perhaps there is an explanation as to why Carroll fell over/dived/exploded: the 23-year-old has too much on his shoulders. He got angrier as the afternoon went on, and his frustration could be understood in part as a result of events in the opening 18 minutes. In that period, aside from his own indiscretion, Liverpool hit the crossbar with a Craig Bellamy deflected cross-cum-shot and had a clear penalty turned down when Williamson headed towards his own goal and his team-mate, Danny Simpson, used an arm to stop the ball on the line.

But then came the collapse, and then came the home heroics. with Williamson and the excellent Perch standing strong at the heart of a makeshift defence, Cheick Tioté rampaging around midfield, Hatem Ben Arfa showing yet more glimpses of genuine, world-class talent, and Cissé blending work-rate and desire with his natural, goalscoring instinct, a match-winning No 9, the antithesis of the big man in red.

After 19 minutes, Ben Arfa skipped past Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey and crossed, cleverly, to the far post, where Cissé beat the offside trap of Martin Skrtel and headed deep past Pepe Reina. Williamson had headed against the Liverpool post before Cissé struck again, on the hour, this time looking offside but finding the quickness of foot to round Reina and score after more good work from Ben Arfa and Demba Ba.

Newcastle moved 11 points clear of Liverpool with this victory, but still there was more misery to come for the visitors, even after Carroll had stomped off. That it could get worse caused genuine shock. Liverpool were already beaten, when Reina lost his head, reacting to a late challenge from Perch by putting his head towards the Newcastle player. Contact was debatable but intent was unquestionable, as was the red card. Reina waved down the tunnel as he went off – giving his goalkeeping shirt to the also much-abused Jose Enrique as Liverpool had already made three substitutions – and pointed at Perch, offering him the chance, it seemed, to meet after the game..

That did not happen, but it spoke volumes for Liverpool's misplaced aggression. Defeat means this is the worst run – six defeats in their last seven league games – the club has been on since the 1953-54 season. Even Newcastle have won a domestic trophy since then for goodness sake.

Match facts

Newcastle: KRUL 7/10, SIMPSON 7, WILLIAMSON 8, PERCH 8, GUTIERREZ 7, BEN ARFA 7, GUTHRIE 7, CABAYE 7, TIOTE 7, BA 7, CISSE 8

Liverpool: REINA 4, ENRIQUE 6, CARRAGHER 6, SKRTEL 5, FLANAGAN 5, SHELVEY 5, SPEARING 6, GERRARD 6, BELLAMY 6, CARROLL 6, SUAREZ 5

Scorer. Newcastle: Cissé 19, 60

Substitutes: Newcastle Gosling 5 (Guthrie, 65), Shola Ameobi (Cissé, 74), Santon (Ben Arfa, 90). Liverpool Downing (Shelvey, 75), Kuyt (Carroll, 79), Henderson (Bellamy, 79).

Booked: Newcastle Perch, Tioté, Cissé. Liverpool Flanagan, Shelvey, Carroll. Sent off: Liverpool Reina (82).

Man of the match Cissé. Match rating 7/10.

Possession: Newcastle 53% Liverpool 47%.

Attempts on target: Newcastle 7 Liverpool 6.

Referee M Atkinson (W Yorkshire). Attendance 52,363.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project