Liverpool, if the league even matters to them anymore, must win at Newcastle to leave themselves a chance of getting a top 6 finish. And although their recent results against Newcastle have usually been favorable, their form in 2012 might suggest that Kenny Dalglish is going to need to come up with new excuses after their visit to St. James’ Park this weekend.
Under Alan Pardew, Newcastle are enjoying their best season since 2003-2004, when they finished 5th in the Premier League and Alan Shearer was still one of the best scorers in the league. Pardew actually began his Newcastle life with a 3-1 win over Liverpool. Andrew Carroll was the best player for the Magpies in that match, making the move to the Reds a little later.
It’s hard seeing anyone spoiling Newcastle’s successful finish, that will be enough to reach European competition for the first time since 2006, thanks to… Liverpool, winning the Carling Cup. Trying to avenge their 3-1 defeat at Anfield on December 30, with Liverpool players scoring all four goals and Newcastle managing to create only 4 attempts at goal. They’re definitely a tough side to beat at home, losing only twice in 13 matches.
But Liverpool are going through a terrible period. After a 3-0 win over Everton it felt like a change was coming. But then came that late collapse against QPR, followed by Wigan getting their first ever win at Anfield. Something’s not working, and it’s more than just saving it all for the FA Cup, were a semi final derby against Everton awaits. Actually, there are so many things not working, it’s hard to point out on or two easy fixes.
Injuries have been a killer for Dalglish, but I don’t think he’s managed to structure the right lineup that works for him, after a year at the helm. The general feeling is that the squad needs another general overhaul and injection of cash in the transfer window to become challengers once again. No matter what you here, the club isn’t where it was supposed to be after a year under American ownership.
To more Tech-Savvy business, there’s a new feature on the infographics giants at Visual.ly which might be good for all those fans looking to bash each other with numbers regarding their teams. There’s no real competition between Liverpool and Newcastle in terms of numbers and followers as you can see above. The Magpies do have a higher average attendance record, 49,306, third in the league behind Manchester United and Arsenal.
There’s no doubt who is the bigger club, despite of that. In terms of brand power, global appeal and so on, a quick look at the followers world map at the bottom shows that Newcastle have a very long way to go if they’re to become more than just a very popular local side without any continental appeal. Consistency in Europe is the key. Big names and signings is another.