Club Focus – Newcastle – Anfield road to ruin continues for Magpies

Newcastle’s woeful run of form at Anfield showed no signs of abating as they were comfortably beaten in their noon showdown on Sunday. The Magpies last won there in 1994 and there was little evidence of that run changing following an early goal for the home team. With their current points total likely to be enough to stay in the division it would appear that some of the players are struggling to motivate themselves for the final run-in. The club’s last two performances against Blackpool and Liverpool have been below the standard set for much of the current campaign. The Magpies have now slipped to 12th place in the table and even a place in the top half is starting to look unlikely.

Liverpool’s 3-0 victory allowed two former Magpies to get one over on their old club. Although former star Andy Carroll did not start the game he made a cameo in the 69th minute to rub further salt into Newcastle’s wounds. Carroll never really threatened to score against his boyhood club but by the time he was introduced the game was already won. The reception he received from the travelling Geordies gave him a taste for what is likely to come his way when he returns to his former stamping grounding next season. Former manager Kenny Dalglish was also able to enjoy a victory over the club he managed for a short period in the mid-nineties. His short spell on Tyneside was one of the rare failures on his CV but he has turned Liverpool around since taking up the reigns once again.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew could only dream of having strikers of the quality of Dalglish or Carroll to call upon. His side were once again down on firepower in attack as their lack of a leading forward was a factor towards their defeat. After the game he said: “We took the game to them after the first goal but couldn’t quite find a moment in the box before half-time. We had a good chance with Joey just after half-time and I would expect him to score that. If we had scored that would Liverpool have been able to break out of the slumber we had got them in?”

The current strike pairing of Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands have both had their moments this season but they cannot be relied upon to score on a regular basis. If Pardew can get his spending correct in the summer then the pair should be back-up options rather than leading contenders to propel Newcastle up the league. Although Jonas Gutierrez was the biggest threat against Liverpool, his good work generally came to nothing with few options available in the box. While at the other end of the field some defensive frailties are beginning to set in on the back of a long season.

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