Sir Alex Ferguson ’s side, desperate to bounce back from last weekend’s surprise 3-2 home defeat by Spurs, made a high-tempo start and were rewarded in the eighth minute when defender Jonny Evans scored with a towering header from a corner.
Things then got much worse for the hosts as Patrice Evra doubled the lead when he nodded home from yet another set piece at the near post.
The Toon raised their game in the second period and twice went close to pulling a goal back in the 50th minute. Demba Ba shook the post with a header before goalkeeper David de Gea clawed away Papiss Cisse’s follow-up attempt with the ball perilously close to going over the line.
But the Reds’ Tom Cleverley capped a sparkling show from the visitors by curling a 25-metre shot into the top corner of Steve Harper’s net in the 71st-minute to make sure of the points.
Meanwhile, Liverpool failed to break down a stubborn Stoke defence in a lacklustre 0-0 draw at Anfield, maintaining the team’s poor start to season. The Reds were attempting to build on their first win of the campaign, at Norwich last weekend. But they were largely left frustrated by Stoke’s heavy-handed tactics, especially in a dire first half, and now have just six points from seven matches.
Elsewhere, Spurs’ fine run continued as they beat Aston Villa 2-0 at White Hart Lane. Goals from Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon saw off the visitors’ challenge.
However, the game was more notable for Brad Friedel’s run of 310 consecutive Premier League appearances coming to an end. Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas dropped the American keeper in favour of new signing Hugo Lloris.
In the day’s early game Southampton scored an injury-time equaliser to rescue a point at home to Fulham.
The Saints took an early lead through Jose Fonte when the Portuguese shouldered a left-wing corner in the fourth minute.
However, Fulham staged a second-half fightback, with the hosts’ Jos Hooiveld diverting a driven cross by John Arne Riise into his own net in the 70th minute. Kieran Richardson then looked to have sealed the win when he grabbed a goal in the 88th minute.
But Fonte saved Southampton from a sixth loss in seven matches by glancing in Danny Fox’s free kick in time added on.
It was no more than the Saints deserved and Fulham boss Martin Jol said as much after the match, saying: “It was disappointing to concede an equaliser in the last minute. But we have to take into account our poor first-half performance.”