We have all seen and/or read Alan Shearer’s passionate reaction to the performances of the Newcastle team against Leicester and Crystal Palace, as well as indeed many of the other games this season where the players have let down both the fans and the club.

Last Saturday saw a performance bristling with pride and emotion but sadly it was Alan Shearer delivering a rousing but cutting assessment of the club as it stands at the minute on Match of The Day, rather than any of those characteristics actually on the pitch.

This time, Alan Shearer has looked to pre-empt another shocking display against Liverpool, by spelling out before the game just what the players need to give as a bare minimum.

Shearer mentions about Steve McClaren’s ridiculous over-use of the word ‘confidence’ in his scripted pre-match press conferences, the Newcastle legend saying that instead his buzzword is ‘courage’ and this is essential to be seen against an in-form Liverpool side.

As the former number nine points out, ‘courage’ isn’t about recklessly charging up the pitch in numbers, it is about being prepared to make the tackles and maybe even more importantly, be prepared to hold onto and want the ball, then try and do something creative when you have got it.

Alan Shearer says that if the Newcastle players have any pride in the shirt and themselves, then we should be guaranteed an improvement of some sorts.

We all wait with some trepidation for 4pm this afternoon.

This is part of what Alan Shearer has writing for The Sun ahead of today’s match:

‘Steve McClaren used the word confidence 34 times in his press conference ahead of today’s home game against Liverpool.

I would have preferred to have heard the word “courage”, because I have not seen any in this Newcastle United side of late, and that is what they have to show this afternoon.

If not, we could be looking at a cricket score given the way Liverpool have been playing away from home.

When I say courage, I don’t mean a bugle call to charge straight at Liverpool as that would play right into Jurgen Klopp’s hands.

I mean courage to get tackles in, to run for every ball, to try things, to not give up or hide. They have to be prepared to receive the ball in difficult situations and they have to lift their heads up and fight back if they go a goal behind.

Show some courage when you go behind instead of leaving your manager hung out to dry, scrapping around for more reasons why it has gone wrong.

It is OK to play well when you are on your way to scoring six as they did against Norwich but it is in situations like they had at Leicester and Crystal Palace when we see real players.

Real players who will show themselves and want the ball.

There are no excuses for not doing that, but they haven’t been doing that.

It is almost as if the pressure of the situation as they face a relegation dog- fight is making them crumble rather than discovering some inner bottle.

Colback claimed this week that contrary to what I have been saying, there is actually “a plan” when Newcastle go into games. Well, I would love to know what it is.

I hope the Newcastle players have not been hidden away from it (criticism). They need to know just what is being said about them.

If they have read it and have an ounce of pride in themselves and the shirt they are wearing, then we should see an improvement.

Yes, there is every chance they will lose. But if they lose once again in the pathetic way they did at home to Leicester and away to Palace, then Newcastle fans will not stand for it.

This time it would not be just a drubbing but a humiliation — for they are facing a Liverpool side on the rise.       

They had better not dare fold like they did in the last two games. The fans simply do not deserve it.’

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