Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle: Stan Collymore winner dents Premiership hopes for Toon after thriller

Report and free highlights as Robbie Fowler and Collymore net doubles to keep Liverpool's 1995/96 Premiership hopes alive

Stan Collymore scores against Newcastle in April 1996 2:09
Liverpool hosted Newcastle at Anfield with both sides going for the Premier League title, what unfolded live on Sky Sports was a Premier League classic.

Stan Collymore's 92nd-minute winner put a dent in Newcastle's title hopes as they were beaten 4-3 by Liverpool in an Anfield thriller.

In a game sure to go down in history as one of the Premier League's greats, Collymore found space in the second minute of injury time to beat Pavel Srnicek with a fine finish, leaving Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan slumped over the advertising hoardings in front of his dugout and his side still trailing Manchester United by three points in the race for the 1995/96 Premiership title.

Having come into the game on a run of just one win in five, Newcastle could not have wished for a worse start than Robbie Fowler heading home unmarked from Collymore's cross to open the scoring inside two minutes, but in a lightning opening they turned the game on its head through quickfire goals from Les Ferdinand and David Ginola inside 14 minutes.

Player ratings

Liverpool: James (7), Wright (6), Scales (6), Ruddock (7), McAteer (7), Redknapp (7), Barnes (7), Jones (6), McManaman (8), Fowler (8), Collymore (8).

Subs: Harkness (6), Rush (n/a).

Newcastle: Srnicek (6), Watson (7), Howey (7), Albert (6), Beresford (5), Beardsley (6), Batty (7), Lee (6), Ginola (7), Asprilla (7), Ferdinand (8).

Subs: Peacock (n/a).

Man of the match: Steve McManaman

Liverpool missed several chances to level before half-time - but there was nothing missing from Fowler's second of the night, and his 28th in the Premiership this season, as he equalised with a smart outside-of-the-boot finish.

Liverpool's bench celebrate the winner as Kevin Keegan slumps on the advertising board
Image: Liverpool's bench celebrate the winner as Kevin Keegan slumps on the advertising board

Newcastle restored their lead two minutes later when Faustino Asprilla caught David James well off his line, but Collymore again levelled up from Jason McAteer's pinpoint cross with 22 minutes to go.

There was still more drama ahead at Anfield to follow in a pulsating game, and in its dying embers John Barnes found Collymore unmarked to score a dramatic winner and keep Liverpool's slim hopes of the title alive. Newcastle remain three points behind Manchester United with a game in hand, but have collected just four points from their last six games.

How Liverpool stole victory in classic

Both sides came into the game looking to put defeats behind them from their previous matches, but there was little sign of a lack in confidence in either on the evidence of the opening exchanges.

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Given Fowler's electric form throughout the season, it was unwise for Newcastle's defence to leave him to his own devices to meet Collymore's cross and nod it beyond Srnicek with the first chance of the game.

Stan Collymore scores the winner at Anfield
Image: Stan Collymore scores the winner at Anfield

But they soon made amends. Asprilla's tricky feet took him inside Neil Ruddock with ease, and when Ferdinand was found in the middle, he turned exquisitely before beating James with a powerful effort which perhaps he should have kept out.

Ginola then stunned Anfield as he ran through off the left from Ferdinand's quick-thinking through ball and beat an onrushing James with a cool finish from 20 yards, to silence The Kop as Newcastle, as it stood, moved level with United at the top of the table.

It would be back in full voice as first Fowler and then Steve McManaman went close, but not close enough to level the scores before half-time.

Newcastle had led twice at Anfield
Image: Newcastle had led twice at Anfield

The second period was just 10 minutes old when Fowler did find a breakthrough with his second of the evening from McManaman's smart set-up, another example of a combination which may provide hope for Terry Venables' England side ahead of Euro 96 this summer.

The relief around Anfield was still palpable when it was swiftly burst. Lee, who should have doubled Newcastle's lead before Fowler's leveller, played Asprilla through and with the Liverpool back three waiting for an offside flag, he beat James, who was already out of his area on the charge, from nearly 30 yards.

Newcastle could have put the game to bed had Ginola found Ferdinand in a great position to score a fourth of the night, before any fears Keegan had about his side holding on, given their wretched form, would eventually be realised.

Newcastle players look dejected after Collymore's winner
Image: Newcastle players look dejected after Collymore's winner

Collymore's first of the night followed as he turned in McAteer's excellent low delivery from deep on the right flank, before Newcastle missed yet another chance as James denied Ferdinand in a one-on-one.

Was that it for the drama? It appeared that way, until deep into added time substitute Rush and Barnes played a number of one-twos on the edge of the Newcastle box. There appeared little danger with plenty back for the visitors, but none had picked up Collymore's run off the left flank, and when Barnes stroked the ball through to him, he rifled it past Srnicek to give an exhilarating game a fitting finale.

Man of the match - Steve McManaman

McManaman may not have got on the scoresheet but he created the most chances (5) of anyone on the pitch, completed the most passes in the opposition half of any player (48) and the second-highest number of dribbles (12).

He also played his part in Liverpool's equaliser to bring the game back to 2-2, continuing his superb form creating goals this season. If he can keep up this level of form, a move to one of Europe's current elite clubs may beckon.

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