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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At the time of putting this together the prices on offer for our recommended bets were Newcastle to win 2-0 (18-1), Newcastle to lead at half-time (3-1) and Newcastle to draw at half-time but lead at full-time (7-1), all prices better than any other online bookmaker.

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alreet 5pts

I think either perez or aarons will start against arsenal. We have to have thauvin right and mitro up. Id plant tiote colback and wijnaldum in the middle. We have to use the wingers and get the ball to them early.

Virsino 5pts

@alreet IMO Tiote has done nothing to deserve a place in the team. I think you may see Anita and Sissoko in there with Colback under pressure for his place.

I think Aarons won't play because Perez showed all the wingers how bad he wants to play in this team with his tracking back and tackling/blocking against Manure. He'll take a bit of shifting from the team based on last week.

I think Thauvin out right is the natural selection.

So, in summary,


Janmaat   S.Taylor    Coloccini   Haidara

                  Anita     Sissoko

Thauvin           Wijinaldum             Perez


Virsino 5pts

Holy Catfish - I forgot about Mbemba

Too many options!!!

desree 5pts

I wouldn't change a defence that kept a clean sheet at old trafford, janmaat doesn't deserve to come straight back in and competing to get back might make him think twice about his dispiline.

I would like to see a midfield 5 of

sissoko anita perez Wijnaldum thauvin

perez and wijnaldum rotating the 10 spot and giving us an option to go 4, 4, 2 with Perez supporting Mitrovic.

Hetton Mag
Hetton Mag 5pts

I thought Perez was outstanding at Manu. Great football brain, tricky, skilfull and hard working, tracking back and making a couple of excellent tackles. On that performance he would be an ever present for me. Still not sure about Mitro, new shearer, new McDonald no he looks like the new billy white hurst to me. I'm still stunned at the transformation of Anita . Expect McLaren to go for 2 holding midfielders. Wow such choices he has! Colo always plays better with Taylor beside him, apart from injury record I've always thought Taylor to be a decent player, he doesn't deserve the stick he gets re performance, public statements different matter. Bloody hell Im looking fwd to a game.

stepaylor 5pts

With thauvin and aarons playing wide and mitrovic up front, wijnaldum and sissoko box to box and either colback, tiote or anita holding we have a strong side with exciting young talent. If colocinni stays on form and creates a solid partnership with mbemba. The only weakish link may be haidara but he has the potential to be a top player. Has the pace and work ethic needed, just his touch and decision making need time.

With taylor, tiote, anita, de jong, cisse and perez not able to get into my first 11 it shows we have the best squad we have had in years. With armstrong, gillead, heardman, roberts, gihlespy, sterry and woodman coming through we have a great foundation of young players. Only cisse, colocinni and tiote in the whole squad will need replacing over the next 2 yrs and if that change is an improvement in quality then the future will be bright.

Mal44 5pts

@stepaylor  ''Only cisse, colocinni and tiote in the whole squad will need replacing over the next 2 yrs and if that change is an improvement in quality then the future will be bright''.

Given that the contracts of Williamson, Obertan, Taylor and Marveaux are up next year (plus Elliott, Vuckic and Ferguson who are more peripheral squad members), I think there will be more than the three you mention. But as you say the future is beginning to look brighter - still worried about the current depth of our defence though, especially when injuries and suspensions kick in.

stepaylor 5pts

Yeah i didnt include any of them apart from taylor in my first post as i assume they wont be around anyway. Taylor is likley to have his deal extended, on current form good value but with his injury record we have to wonder whether 40k a week can be better spent. I like having local lads in the squad and i think his personality is good for the group so i would give him a 3 yr deal

Mal44 5pts

@stepaylor  I was surprised by Taylors performance last week; he was excellent and showed some maturity which has been sadly lacking in the past. I hope it continues as a lack of consistency has always been his problem. He'll be fighting for a new contract so fingers crossed that he has a really good season.

DomUniqu3 5pts

Need to keep Perez in I think he's an asset to the team, best player last year imo

george8783 5pts

picked Alexander Mitrovic up for training today 

what a level headed young man he is 

a new hero in the making 

speaks english very well has his family with him 

looks much fitter than 3 weeks ago

and he has shown he does not have to get booked to frighten the premier league defenders his presence will create chances and he should score plenty 

good luck tomorrow 

DanH87 5pts

What is this 1998? There isn't a single team in the PL that plays two strikers anymore. Mitrovic to me is the epitome of the modern PL striker and if we are to have any chance of success this season he has to start every game he can. Forget about Cisse. 

Kazie23 5pts

Uhm...City played with two strikers last season

alreet 5pts

Need to keep cisse as a sub. He can still put em away. New era though. No more reliance on gouffran ameobi and colback to get the goals.

JohnEllis2 5pts

We have to find a starting place for young arrons his pace and eye for goal is scary

Kazie23 5pts

I know...And Ayoze perez

wor monga
wor monga 5pts

There’s plenty of time for all eventualities to occur over the length of the season…Cisse and Perez will play a major part, but the main thing now is converting the work we’ve done into a win…preferably at home against Arsenal…that must be the total motivation for the team, and nothing but that!!!