It wasn't anything close to the most comprehensive win of the season, but Liverpool battled back to ensure that the last match of the year gave them a result in keeping with the tremendous success they've had in the last nine months.
Liverpool 2 Agger 63', Sturridge 65'
Newcastle 1 Skrtel (OG) 20'
If Liverpool thought they'd have an easy time at home against a Newcastle team that's been generous with goals all season, they had another thing coming when it became clear that the Magpies were going to take a sudden interest in defending when it mattered least for their own season. It took twenty minutes before Liverpool found any success on goal after a hastily taken free kick by Luis Suarez, but it was promptly called back because Phil Dowd.
A called off goal is annoying at the best of times, but made doubly so when it's accompanied by a quick own goal immediately afterwards. Martin Skrtel was the unsurprising culprit — his fourth of the season — and Liverpool remained down 1-0 by the time the half-time whistle blew despite having the lion's share of the possession.
The second half saw Jon Flanagan unceremoniously substituted in favour of Aly Cissokho just shortly after the restart — on Cafu Day! Philippe Coutinho was brought on to enliven the match, and not four minutes later Daniel Agger — DANIEL AGGER — scored on a well executed set piece, with the assist from his captain Steven Gerrard.
It was all Liverpool needed to get back into the game, as two minutes later Daniel Sturridge scored a nearly identical goal, again on a well executed set piece with an assist from his captain. The go ahead goal was enough to see Liverpool through the match, as Newcastle eventually found themselves down to nine men and were unable to find an equaliser as a result.
It would have taken something truly special from West Ham for Liverpool to win the league on the last day of the season. It didn't happen — Andy Carroll got substituted without having scored a single goal let alone a hat trick, the nerve — but Liverpool upheld their end of the bargain and got the win that they would have needed had City lost.
Not everyone was on their game today, clearly, but it proved to be a day where not everyone had to be. Jordan Henderson and Daniel Agger both demonstrated how much they'd been missed in their absences, and Simon Mignolet came up with a key save in a decisive moment for the four millionth time this season. Luis Suarez will be disappointed to not have scored his 32nd goal of the season and thus breaking the record for most goals in a 38-game season, while Daniel Sturridge brought his finally tally up to 25 across all competitions for the season. Raheem Sterling is super fast!
It was a far cry from being a classic match for the ages, but after two successive disappointing results against Chelsea and Crystal Palace, it was important to win the final match of the season at home in front of the club's fans. That it's possible to feel put out by a second place finish is indicative of the monumental success of the season as a whole, and today's win is in keeping with what's been achieved this year.
There will be lots to be picked over in the next few weeks as the dust settles on the 2013-14 Premier League season, but for now let's revel in one of the best seasons most of us have ever known as Liverpool fans. Because next year? We go again.