Great Britain

Ex-Newcastle star Rob Lee says he’s ‘immensely proud’ of club’s epic 4-3 defeat to Liverpool on April 3 1996

IT remains arguably the greatest game in Premier League history,  Liverpool beating Newcastle in a seven-goal thriller at Anfield on this date 24 years ago.

Here, former Toon midfield orchestrator ROB LEE tells SunSport’s Russell Lanning how through the euphoria pitch-side you could have heard a pin drop in the Newcastle dressing room afterwards.

I HAVE a vivid recollection of this game.
Sitting in stony silence with the rest of the Newcastle players in the dressing room not quite believing we had played so well but lost this match to an agonising injury-time goal from Stan Collymore.

But that’s what life was like playing under Kevin Keegan at Newcastle.

There was never a dull moment.

KK didn’t have a thought for playing down time or telling us to keep ball. As far as Kevin was concerned if there was a chance to win the match then we should go for it.

But this was a topsy-turvy game like no other.

Just a glance at the scoring tells you all you need to know.

It went 1-0 to Liverpool, then 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 2-3, 3-3 and finally 4-3.

Twice we led, three times the scores were level and twice we were behind. But most annoyingly at the final whistle.

The stats tell their own story. An average Premier League game sees 25 shots on/off target and blocked during a match.

In this game there were a staggering 41 – 26 for Liverpool and 15 for us.

But I would expect nothing less in a match that involved an attacking force that included Fowler, Collymore, Barnes, McManaman, Ferdinand, Asprilla, Ginola and Beardsley.

For the record, Robbie Fowler gave Liverpool the lead after two minutes. We were level eight minutes later when Les Ferdinand’s powerful finish gave David James no chance.

Then David Ginola produced a show-stopping goal to put us ahead, outpacing Jason McAteer and firing a low shot home. After 14 minutes we were 2-1 up.

Steve McManaman’s run and cross saw Fowler gobble up his second and the equaliser in the 55th minute.

But it took us only two minutes for my pass to beat the offside trap and Faustino Asprilla to put us back in the lead.

Another 11 minutes and Liverpool were level again – McAteer’s low cross and Stan Collymore stabbing home at the far post.

And then the final twist in the 92nd minute. John Barnes and sub Ian Rush looked to have got in each others’ way, but then the meticulous Barnes recovered to deliver a pass perfectly in the path of Collymore who cracked the ball inside Pavel Srnicek to leave the Kop in wonder and KK in despair in the dugout.

A win in this game would have put us level at the top with Man Utd with a game in hand and just seven games to go. This defeat was a sucker punch and was a huge fillip to Fergie and co at Old Trafford.

Of course I regret that we were unable to deliver any silverware to the unbelievable Newcastle fans during the Keegan era at St James’ Park.

But I loved every minute of my playing career with Kevin. His football philosophy was a breath of fresh air and a rollercoaster journey that was a joy to be part of from start to finish.

I am also immensely proud that my two sons, Oliver and Elliott, can look back and enjoy watching their dad playing in a game like this and know that it was a game that will be remembered in football folklore.

Yes, we lost. But isn’t it great to know that even 24 years on people still can recall the match with such enthusiasm.

LIVERPOOL: James, McAteer, Jones (Rush 86), Scales, Wright (Harkness 45), Ruddock, Redknapp, Barnes, McManaman, Collymore, Fowler.

NEWCASTLE: Srnicek, Watson, Albert, Howey (Peacock 82), Beresford, Batty, Lee, Beardsley, Ginola, Ferdinand, Asprilla.

Football news:

Werner goes to Chelsea: Liverpool clearly explained the refusal to Klopp, and Granovskaya pulled off the transfer online
Toni Kroos: in Spain, when I come to the meeting three minutes before the start, I will be the first, in Germany-the last
The homes of Benfica players were threatened after the attack on the club bus
Have you seen the Loco gun? The ball comes out of it with the same sound as when you hit it, but there is no impact! How so?
Chelsea have agreed to transfer Werner for 60 million euros
Ronaldo dressed up as Aladdin, Georgina as a Power Ranger for the children's birthday
During a 6-hour shift, you can't drink, eat, or go to the toilet. Two monologues from the RPL about doctors who are fighting the virus