|A brace from Craig Bellamy, left, put Liverpool firmly in charge, but still no goals from misfiring striker Andy Carroll [GALLO/GETTY]
Steven Gerrard ended a troubled year in fine style on Friday by leading Liverpool to a 3-1 victory over Newcastle United that sent the Anfield club into fifth place in the English Premier League.
The England midfielder, who missed much of 2011 with a groin injury and an ankle infection, scored the third goal 12 minutes from time after coming on as a 59th-minute substitute.
Striker Craig Bellamy also scored twice against his former club after Newcastle had taken the lead midway through the first half through France midfielder Yohan Cabaye.
"I think lately we haven't got what we deserved," man of the match Gerrard told Sky Sports.
"We have put a lot of pressure on teams and played well and come away without maximum points so it's very pleasing to get the three points tonight.
"I have had a terrible year with a lot of injuries but I just want to look forward. To get on the scoresheet and get three points was a perfect return."
Newcastle, who have now lost seven times in succession at Anfield, are seventh in the table.
Liverpool (34 points from 19 games) moved above Arsenal into the Europa League qualification spot before Saturday's main programme of fixtures.
Manchester United (45) can go three points clear at the top if they beat Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
Leaders Manchester City, on the same points as neighbours United but with a superior goal difference, travel to Sunderland on Sunday.