Brazilian Anderson, with the spotlight on him this evening, contributed a brilliant opener before Cleverley atoned for spurning a glaring chance by opening his goalscoring account for the club at senior level. Papiss Cisse, whose introduction as a substitute added a cutting edge for the Magpies, pulled one back and was only denied an equaliser by the woodwork.
One of many plus points on the night was the return of Wayne Rooney after his leg injury, with the Reds' No10 excelling after dropping deeper midway through the first half. Hopefully, the Merseysider will be available for the weekend clash with Tottenham after coming off with 15 minutes remaining.
Despite fielding a very inexperienced back four, with only one Barclays Premier League appearance between them, the Reds made a promising start. Left-back Alexander Büttner, the man with that sole league outing to his name, cracked a decent attempt off target in only the third minute.
Marnick Vermijl, one of four debutants overall, showed his quality with an inviting cross that skimmed Javier Hernandez’s head and drifted away from goal. Although the visitors responded with Dan Gosling miscuing a good opening created by Shola Ameobi’s headed lay-off, most of the pressure continued to come from Sir Alex’s side. There was a shout to keep the run of penalties going when Rooney tumbled under a challenge from James Tavernier but referee Anthony Taylor was right to wave 'play on'.
Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot produced a superb save to push away an Anderson drive after the Brazilian drove through the heart of the defence by