Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard spoke of his delight after ending a "terrible" injury-plagued 2011 on a high with a starring role in the 3-1 home win over Newcastle.

33022 - Steven Gerrard hails 'perfect return'

Craig Bellamy scored twice against his former club to help Liverpool recover from going a goal down but Gerrard took most of the plaudits after producing a memorable cameo performance off the bench.

In only his second appearance after two months out with an ankle infection, Gerrard was a constant menace to the Newcastle defence and added his side's third goal 12 minutes from time.

"It's good to be back. I've had a terrible year with a lot of injuries but I just want to look forward," Gerrard told Sky Sports. "I'm delighted to be back with the lads today, to get on the scoresheet and get three points was a perfect return. It's great to be back."

The result was the first time Liverpool had scored three goals in a match since the August 27 win over Bolton, while it earned Kenny Dalglish's side only their second home win in their last six games at Anfield.

Gerrard added: "I think of late we haven't got what we deserved, we've put a lot of pressure on teams, played well and come away without maximum points, so it's really pleasing to get three points and also score three goals, because we've had a bit of criticism for not scoring enough goals."

While Bellamy was able to get on the scoresheet against his old club, another ex-Magpie - Andy Carroll - was unable to find the back of the net after being given the role of main striker in the absence of the suspended Luis Suarez.

However, Gerrard was impressed with the £35 million striker's all-round performance, saying: "I think he did everything tonight but score. He was very unlucky, but if he keeps applying himself like he did tonight I'm sure the goals are just around the corner.

"It's not just down to him, it's down to rest of the players to provide the service for him, we're all in this together. We got three points, with three great goals, now we've got a big game to look forward to against Man City."