Newcastle 3 Liverpool 1: Bubbly Barton closes Hughton chapter

By Colin Young

He hasn't touched a drop for almost two years but when he was informed the man of the match bubbly was his on Saturday night, Joey Barton grabbed the bottle with all the enthusiasm of a hard-up student on freshers week and waved it triumphantly at the camera.

'This is for Chris and PB (Paul Barron)', he said. 'Thanks to them for everything they have done for us. We appreciate it.'

Obscene: Barton gestures towards Torres on Saturday

Obscene: Barton gestures towards Torres on Saturday

Newcastle players have to move on now, they have no choice, despite their clear affection for Chris Hughton and his goalkeeping coach after their sackings last week. Barton's gesture was closure. But another gesture, an obscene one towards Fernando Torres, may land the midfielder in hot water. The FA are waiting for referee Lee Mason's report before deciding whether to take action.

Well in: Pardew and Barton

Well in: Pardew and Barton

The eventual 3-1 demolition of Liverpool was proof that new boss Alan Pardew has inherited a group who are taking their survival battle seriously.

The players have said their bit, made their feelings known to owner Mike Ashley and his sidekick Derek Llambiasbut know it will make no difference. The same could be said of the fans who gathered in their thousands outside St James' Park before and after the game to demand Ashley's exit before concentrating their efforts on supporting the players.

'The supporters were great,' said captain Kevin Nolan. 'You wondered whether they would be spending the time just hammering them but they didn't and hats off to them for that. With their support we believe we can be a very good Premier League side.'

Ashley and Llambias are either oblivious to the stick, or thrive on it and they hugged anyone within hugging distance, including their minders, as Newcastle's goals rained in. In their world, they were right to sack Hughton and appoint Pardew, and no one will ever persuade them otherwise. And this win proved it.

Captain Nolan has been very vocal in the last week but the talking stops now and he will be trying to ensure Hughton's endeavours have not been wasted.

Nolan said: 'What happened to Chris was very disappointing. We had a few days to get over it, but life goes on and the show must go on.

Beaming: Ashley smiles

Beaming: Ashley smiles

'What we have built with Chris should not be allowed to change. We all have our own opinions on what happened but the owners have the final say at this club and we have to respect that. Any talk of any revolt towards Alan is nonsense. He is our gaffer and we have to work under him.'

Lifelong Liverpool fan Nolan opened the scoring for Newcastle after Andy Carroll headed down Barton's free-kick. Fellow Scouser Barton got the second 10 minutes from time before Carroll lashed home the third in injury-time.

Dirk Kuyt's fortunate goal off Steven Taylor's toe pul led Liverpool level after the break but Torres shooting straight at Tim Krul with only the keeper to beat, perhaps summed up Roy Hodgson's side's wretched season.

Newcastle 3 Liverpool 1