Bellamy's brace leads Liverpool past Newcastle

Craig Bellamy scored a goal in each half 1 win over Newcastle at Anfield on Friday.

Daniel Agger's own goal handed the visitors a lead after 25 minutes, but Bellamy responded shortly after to level the match at halftime.

The Welshman put the Reds in front with 23 minutes to play and Steven Gerrard came off the bench to seal the win in the 78th minute with his second goal of the campaign.

Ryan Taylor had a hand in the opening goal for Newcastle when his left-wing cross took multiple deflections before finally glancing off the shoulder of Agger and into the net, leaving goalkeeper Pepe Reina wrong-footed.

But Bellamy provided an answer four minutes later when a deflected cross from Charlie Adam was hammered home by the striker from 14 yards.

Bellamy netted his second goal from a free kick that he curled past the wall and in between goalkeeper Tim Krul and defender Danny Simpson on the goal line.

The Magpies came close to equalizing 20 minutes from time when Demba Ba chipped a ball past Reina, only for Liverpool's Martin Skrtel to make a last- ditch clearance off the line to preserve his team's lead.

Former Newcastle frontman Andy Carroll nearly punished his old club with a header that struck the crossbar from six yards, but Gerrard put the result out of reach when he beat Krul from a tight angle with a low shot after being played into the area by Jordan Henderson.

Liverpool moves into fifth with the win, one point clear of Arsenal, while Newcastle has claimed just one win from its last eight fixtures.

Manchester United enters the weekend level on points with Manchester City at the top of the league and United will host Blackburn on Saturday while City visits the Stadium of Light on Sunday to face Sunderland.

United has won its last two games by 5-0 scorelines and will be looking for a similar result against last-place Rovers. City was held to a 0-0 draw by West Bromwich in midweek and hopes to return to the win column against a Black Cats team that has claimed seven points from its last four games.

Third-place Tottenham has won eight of its last 10 matches and aims to continue its good run of form at Swansea City on Saturday, with Chelsea hosting Aston Villa and the Blues trying to snap a string of three successive 1-1 draws.

Arsenal was held to a 1-1 deadlock at home by Wolverhampton and hosts London rivals QPR, Bolton and Wolves get together at the Reebok Stadium in a match filled with relegation implications, Fulham invades Norwich City and Wigan looks to bounce back from a 5-0 defeat to Manchester United when the Latics take on Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

Sunday's other match features Everton meeting West Brom at The Hawthorns with the Baggies aiming to extend a run of seven points from their last three games.