PAPISS Demba Cisse blew away Liverpool with two goals at The Sports Direct Arena this afternoon.
The striker netted in each half to give Newcastle United a deserved 2-0 win over Kenny Dalglish’s side, who had goalkeeper Pepe Reina sent off in the dying minutes.
With Dalglish having already made his three substitutions, former United defender Jose Enrique ended the game in goal after Reina was dismissed for clashing with James Perch, who had an outstanding game.
And visiting No9 Andy Carroll – who was also given a torrid time on his return to The Sports Direct Arena – stormed down the tunnel after being substituted late in the match.
The result saw Newcastle go level with fifth-placed Chelsea and it stretched Newcastle’s lead over Liverpool, in eighth, to 11 points.
United manaer Alan Pardew recalled fit-again Cheik Tiote to the starting XI and Jonas Gutierrez, playing as a makeshift left-back, took the captain’s armband in the absence of his Argentinian countryman Fabricio Coloccini, out with a hamstring injury.
After a couple of early raids down the left from Demba Ba, Carroll – whose every touch was booed – was at the centre of the game’s first talking point, the striker being booked for diving by referee Martin Atkinson after attempting to round Tim Krul.
Carroll’s theatrics raised the temperature at a sunny Sports Direct Arena another notch, as did a subsequent verbal exchange between the 23-year-old and Pardew in front of the dugouts.
Krul had to be at his best to tip over a deflected shot from another ex-Newcastle forward, Craig Bellamy, in the 15th minute.
The first goal, however, was to come at the other end and it owed everything to Hatem Ben Arfa.
The forward, playing on the right side of a front three, picked up the ball in his own half and ran to the edge of the box before looking up.
Ben Arfa saw Cisse at the far post and his floated cross was met by the striker, who headed it back across goal and into the net to open the scoring, the strike his sixth since joining the club from Freiburg in January.
The goal lifted the roof at The Sports Direct Arena and Ben Arfa continued to torment Liverpool, at one stage skipping past Enrique.
Ba and Cisse had chances before the interval and Mike Williamson saw a headed effort cleared off the line early in the second-half by Reina.
However, Cisse made no mistake in the 59th minute. Ben Arfa found him in the box and the 26-year-old took his time before finally rolling the ball past Reina to make it 2-0 and take the game beyond the visitors.
Cisse was given a standing ovation when he was replaced by Shola Ameobi in the 74th minute and Stewart Downing, named on an expensive bench along with former Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson, replaced Jonjo Shelvey a minute later.
There was late drama when Reina was dismissed after he confronted Perch, who had clipped him in the box as he went to pick up the ball.
Enrique donned Reina’s shirt, but the left-back was only tested once, with United happy to see what was a remarkable match out by keeping the ball.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Perch, Gutierrez; Guthrie (Gosling, 65), Tiote, Cabaye; Ben Arfa (Santon, 90), Cisse (Shola Ameobi, 74), Ba. Subs not used: Elliot, R Taylor, Vuckic, Ferguson.
LIVERPOOL: Reina; Flanagan, Skrtel, Carragher, Enrique; Gerrard, Spearing, Shelvey (Downing, 75); Bellamy (Henderson, 80), Carroll (Kuyt, 80), Suarez. Subs not used: Doni, Aurelio, Rodriguez, Coates.
Goals: Cisse 19, 59
Bookings: Carroll 10, Shelvey 17, Cisse 29, Flanagan 45, Tiote 48, Perch 82
Sent off: Reina 83
Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)