In-form Newcastle beat Liverpool

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Newcastle's revival under Alan Pardew continued as they picked up a fourth successive victory against a Liverpool side who continue to struggle for form.

Substitute Ayoze Perez, who scored in the Magpies' win at Tottenham last week, netted the second-half winner from close range after the visitors failed to clear Paul Dummett's cross.

Newcastle also went close through Remy Cabella and Papiss Cisse as victory - their first at home over the Reds in five attempts - moved them to a point behind their opponents.

Defeat for Brendan Rodgers's side left them nine points behind leaders Chelsea, who kicked off later on Saturday. But more worryingly is that they are six points shy of where they were at this stage last season.

While the defence is a continuing concern under Rodgers' stewardship - they have kept only one clean sheet in the last 12 matches - far more worrying is at the other end, where summer signing Mario Balotelli, a "calculated risk" as Rodgers labelled it, has not worked so far.

There was a small fanfare when he was brought in to fill the void left byLuis Suarez's move to Barcelona, but while the Uruguayan managed 31 goals last season, the Italian will be lucky to get half that total on current form.

He has only scored twice for the Reds and has yet to hit the mark in the Premier League.

Here he always seemed a willing outlet for his team-mates, but Newcastle's defence had him under lock and key for much of the match.

Balotelli's game revolves around explosive power and instinct rather than guile, but he barely fired, only threatening with a first-half free-kick and a curling shot which Tim Krul easily held.

His team-mates provided little support and rarely troubled the Newcastle defence, with only headers from Martin Skrtel and Philippe Coutinho, which produced a marvellous save from Krul, causing jitters in the home backline.

Despite being handicapped by injuries to winger Gabriel Obertan and striker Cisse during the match, Newcastle never looked anything but a team riding high after starting the season poorly, while the confidence gained from beating Spurs and then Manchester City in the League Cup was visible.

Having threatened with a Cisse header, which was cleared off the line by Glen Johnson, they finally broke through thanks to Perez's second successive league goal.

The Spaniard, on for Cisse, again showed a striker's instinct of being at the right place at the right time, when he slammed in from Dummett's delivery.

Another summer recruit, Cabella should have added a second when he broke forward with Perez before firing a goalbound shot that was pushed wide by Simon Mignolet.

After one draw and four wins, calls for manager Pardew to be sacked seem like a distant memory.

Source: BBC Sports.

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