NEWCASTLE, United Kingdom (AFP) - Liverpool proved there is life after Luis Suarez by thrashing Newcastle United 6-0 on Saturday to leave their hosts nervously hovering above the Premier League relegation zone.
Leading scorer Suarez has been handed a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, but his absence was barely noticed at St James' Park as Liverpool returned to winning ways in style after a run of three draws.
Goals from Daniel Agger and Jordan Henderson put the visitors 2-0 up at the interval, before Suarez's replacement Daniel Sturridge claimed a brace early in the second half.
Substitute Fabio Borini added a fifth and after Mathieu Debuchy was sent off, Henderson completed a brace of his own as Newcastle fell to their heaviest home defeat of the Premier League era.
Victory left Brendan Rodgers' side in seventh place, five points below Everton ahead of next weekend's Merseyside derby at Anfield.
Newcastle, meanwhile, remain at risk of being drawn into the relegation zone. Although they have a five-point lead over third-bottom Wigan, they have played a game more than all four of the teams below them.
Newcastle's fans were still settling into their seats when Liverpool took the lead in the third minute, with Agger beating goalkeeper Rob Elliot to Stewart Downing's cross and nodding the ball home.
As the visiting fans serenaded their absent Uruguayan striker, Rodgers' side made it 2-0 in the 17th minute with a goal of slick simplicity.
Sturridge cushioned a high ball and laid it off to Philippe Coutinho, before running onto the Brazilian's through pass and squaring the ball for Henderson to tap into an empty net.
The hosts were left to rue a gilt-edged opportunity to equalise nine minutes before half-time, when the unmarked James Perch headed Massadio Haidara's inviting cross wide from close range.
The game became niggly in the minutes approaching half-time. Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote was at the centre of it, tangling with Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson and then producing a crude stamp on Sturridge that went undetected by the match officials.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew introduced Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran at the break, only for Liverpool to extend their lead in the 54th minute with a goal that owed everything to the brilliance of Coutinho.
Picking up the ball wide on the left, the January signing from Inter Milan ran at the retreating home defence before scooping a pass through a narrow gap to Sturridge, who composed himself before lashing a shot high into the net.
Henderson returned the compliment to Sturridge on the hour, unselfishly laying the ball square for the former Chelsea man to claim his second goal, before Borini came off the bench to prod home his first Liverpool goal after a long spell on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.
The hosts' misery was complete moments later when Debuchy was shown a second yellow card for a two-footed lunge at Coutinho, and from the resulting free-kick, Henderson curled in a sixth.