Newcastle United v Liverpool
Sunday 1 April 2012 1.30pm
Live On SKY
If we thought we’d had a strange season then what about the red scousers?
In various competitions they have beaten Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea, yet in their last two matches they were beaten by QPR having led by two, then were beaten by relegation favourites Wigan at Anfield? How can you explain that?
Well I think I can, it comes down to attitude/mentality/team spirit or whatever – for all the rubbish their media chums spout, this is eleven individuals who as a team just haven’t done it in the league. They’ve only won 11 out of 30 league matches and even with ‘King Kenny’ at the helm the natives were booing from the Kop when the final whistle went against Wigan.
Much as we will point to injuries to the likes of Steven Taylor and Tiote handicapping us, they have solid performers like Agger and Lucas on long-term sick, though with the money Dalglish has spent (wasted!) a few injuries should hve been only a minor problem. Added to that, Adam and Bellamy are likely to miss out through injury. if the Welsh whinger was to miss then that would be undoubtedly a plus as for me he is one of their top performers.
Closer to home, we gratefully welcome back Cheick Tiote and Ryan Taylor, with it being a no-brainer for the Ivory coaster to slip back in and take the fight to the scousers. Interesting to see whether the manager will prefer Santon or Taylor at left-back, with Perch a certainty to partner Williamson in the middle.
Naturally there will be more than a hit of pantomime surrounding the match as the likes of Dalglish, Carroll and Enrique return to St.James’ Park.
The six points picked up against Norwich and West Brom combined with zero points for the visitors from their last two matches, means that as well as eight points between the teams, United must hold the upper hand in confidence going into this clash.
Even those with the shortest of memories will need no reminding of bad experiences in the past against Liverpool, so there will be no room for complacency.
If our forwards spend more time getting the opposition on the back foot then I think we’ll be ok.
While it was good to see the commitment that ground out the win against Norwich, it was even better to see the attacking style that took West Brom apart on their home patch.
It is still early days but there can’t be many black & whites who aren’t desperate to see if Ba, Ben Arfa and Papiss Cissé can continue the blinding form of last week.
If any additional spice were needed for this fixture then there is the enticing prospect of if Chelsea fail to win at Villa tomorrow, then we will go into our match knowing victory would take us into a clear fifth with seven matches to play!
Everything to play for and I just can’t wait.
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