Reds hit Magpies for six
The striker helped himself to a double as the Reds romped to a stunning victory which leaves the Magpies still deep in relegation trouble. Newcastle were utterly shambolic on a day when they could have all but secured their Barclays Premier League status for another season, and the visitors took full advantage.
Daniel Agger headed them in front with just five minutes gone and Sunderland old boy Jordan Henderson made it 2-0 12 minutes later. Sturridge then claimed a double inside six second-half minutes. Further strikes from substitute Fabio Borini and Henderson rubbed salt into black and white wounds, as did the 75th-minute dismissal of Mathieu Debuchy for a second yellow card.
The Reds tore at their hosts from the off and needed just five minutes to forge their way ahead when Agger took advantage of lazy defending to run unmarked on to Stewart Downing's lofted cross and head past the helpless Rob Elliot.
They increased their lead with 17 minutes gone after mounting a flowing attack which left the Magpies floundering again, Phillippe Coutinho sliding the ball into Sturridge's path for him to square for Henderson to double the dose.
Sturridge forced a 24th-minute save from Elliot and Steven Gerrard uncharacteristically volleyed wide five minutes later with the locals fearing the worst. Newcastle should really have been back in it with nine minutes of the half remaining when Massadio Haidara produced the first cross of any note to present James Perch with a free header, only to see him head wastefully wide.
The balance of the game had changed after the break as Newcastle poured forward and started to find space in advanced areas, although Yohan Cabaye passed up a glorious chance after miscontrolling on the edge of the box with 52 minutes gone.
But the game was effectively over two minutes later when substitute Hatem Ben Arfa was robbed by Coutinho wide on the right and sped forward to slide in Sturridge, who blasted past Elliot. They were carved open once again when Gerrard and Henderson combined to set up Sturridge for his second with half an hour still to play, and the rout was far from complete.
Borini needed just two minutes to find the back of the net on his return from injury as a substitute when he converted Downing's cross, and Henderson sent a 74th-minute free-kick across Elliot and into the bottom corner with no team-mate able to get a touch to make it 6-0.
Within seconds Debuchy got his marching orders after receiving a second yellow for a foul on Coutinho, and only a fine 82nd-minute save by Elliot denied Coutinho a seventh goal as the storm clouds gathered over Tyneside with three games of a difficult campaign remaining.
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