Pardew Begins with Win Over Liverpool, City Level at Top

London, Dec 12 (DPA) Alan Pardew got off to a winning start as Newcastle United manager as his side beat Liverpool 3-1 Saturday.

There had been demonstrations in the streets around the ground against the sacking of Chris Hughton before the game, but Pardew himself was welcomed with applause, with the boos inside the ground reserved for owner Mike Ashley.

"This is a cruel game and we were talking yesterday about how quickly it moves on," said Joey Barton, who dedicated his man of the match award to Hughton and goalkeeping coach Paul Barron, who was also sacked.

"It is almost like he was not here and the most important thing is that the club moves on. The king is dead, long live the king."

Newcastle went ahead after 15 minutes, Kevin Nolan firing in after Andy Carroll had knocked down a Joey Barton free-kick.

Liverpool were much improved in the second half, though, and levelled on 50 minutes as Dirk Kuyt picked up on some poor control from Sol Campbell and scored with the aid of a deflection off Steven Taylor.

But as the game went on, Newcastle regained the initiative, with Nile Ranger, on for Shola Ameobi, highly influential and they benefited from shambolic Liverpool defending.

With 11 minutes to go, a long free-kick from goalkeeper Tim Krul was headed on by Andy Carroll and as Ranger challenged, Martin Skrtel and Pepe Reina both hesitated, allowing Joey Barton to poke just inside the post.

Carroll rounded off the win in injury-time with a 25-yard drive into the bottom corner.

"It has been a long two or three days," Pardew said, "but this was a great victory. The spirit on the pitch was fantastic.

"I have had a good reaction, and I thank the players and the staff for that. They9ve made it easy for me."

Earlier in the day, Manchester City went level on points with Arsenal at the top of the table with a 3-1 victory over West Ham United.

Yaya Toure lashed in Gareth Barry's pass on the half-hour to put them ahead, and was instrumental in the second as well.

Cutting in from the left after 73 minutes, Toure beat James Tomkins, and fired in a low shot that hit the post, bounced back onto goalkeeper Rob Green and cannoned over the line.

Adam Johnson rounded Green to add a third with nine minutes remaining, and Tomkins pulled one back a minute from time.

Assistant manager Brian Kidd insisted much-doubted manager Roberto Mancini has to take credit. "His work ethic is fantastic, his passion and desire is first class," he said.

"It does not come overnight, but the work we have put in this season and last is starting to show. I think the club are very lucky to have him as manager. He is a winner.

"There is no way the boss will let the pressure get to him, he is too meticulous."

Aston Villa jumped four points clear of the relegation zone with a 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion.

Stewart Downing turned in Marc Albrighton's cross to give Villa a 25th-minute lead, and Emile Heskey knelt to head in a second with 10 minutes remaining.

Paul Scharner gave West Brom hope in the final minute from a Chris Brunt corner, but Villa held out.

"I was pleased with the attitude of the players," said Villa manager Gerard Houllier. "When you go through a bad patch, you need to keep cool and more focused on a few things."

Everton's inability to take chances cost them again as they drew 0-0 against relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic.

"I do not think you get better chances in the Premier League than we did today - three or four opportunities," said Everton manager David Moyes.

"The longer we did not take them the more frustrated we got and the more anxiety came into our play and the crowd. We just have to take those chances.

Blackpool climbed to ninth in the table with a 1-0 away win over Stoke City.

Blackpool took the lead three minutes after half-time, a counter ending with Charlie Adam laying in DJ Campbell to score.

Sunderland overcame yet another defensive injury - Anton Ferdinand limping off after 19 minutes - to hold Fulham to a goalless draw at Craven Cottage.


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Title: Pardew Begins with Win Over Liverpool, City Level at Top

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