Hold me…

Sundays defeat was damaging, in more ways than one.

Firstly, it was damaging for a team that only one week previously had  managed to remove a gorilla sized monkey from its back, as they secured their first win in 195 confidence sapping days.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly however, was the damage it did to the morale of a fanbase who, despite our perilous league position, have been almost universally upbeat and positive since around 5:25pm on Thursday 7th October.

The Gallows humour amongst the travelling Mags at the King Power was indeed admirable and something to behold, but the definition of Gallows Humour is as follows: Grim and ironic humour in a desperate or hopeless situation.

I fear that many a Mag (myself included) lost a huge chunk of any remaining confidence that we can drag ourselves out of the unbelievable mess created by Messrs Bruce and Ashley – and once hope begins to be lost in the fanbase, it is inevitable that that feeling of it being a lost cause will be feltby the players.

In reality, what was needed following Sundays capitulation were a couple of winnable home fixtures – instead, what we have are a couple of fixtures that we will do well to come away from with a cumulative goal difference of minus 5…the first of which takes place at Anfield on Thursday night.

Thursdays game is the first real test of Eddie Howes tenure; how will he and his charges react to Sunday’s rout, in a game that realistically no one – not even the players if they are being honest – expects to result in anything other than a one-sided home win?

What will undoubtedly be needed at Anfield is Geordie defiance coupled with an ‘I’m going to bust my balls for the team’work rate from every black and white shirted player that takes to the pitch – and for that reason I cannot possibly see how a starting place for ASM can be considered a viable option. Sadly, both traits are not in our talismanic Frenchman’s make-up, particularly of late. For me, Fraser has to start.

Other changes I’d like to see for us to have even the remotest hope of keeping the score line respectable would see Fernandez coming in for the Lascelles, who must be losing sleep at the thought of facing Mane, Salah et al – our club captain currently has a turning circle that is the equivalent of the EverGiven – and Hayden for the hopelessly out of form Joe Willock. Whilst Hayden offers less than nowt going forwards, he would at least offer our back 4 an element of protection that was simply non-existent on Sunday afternoon.

Eddie needs to show himself as being willing to make the tough calls – like the ones I’ve suggested above – we simply have no room for any passengers.

Even if he does, I still fear the worst.

Danger Man: Shit the bed, where do I even start…

Prediction: A 0-4 defeat that will see any hopes of a great escape eroded still further.

Lee Forster @LeeDForster

“And the bells were ringing out, for hell on a Thursday night.”

 We don’t win at Anfield, we never do. God be with those travelling down to participate in the masochistic act of watching Newcastle get turned over by Klopp and co. Fantasy League players across the country will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of Salah against our Keystone Cops in defence.

That’s all I can see from this one, especially with the addition of Mike Dean into the mix. After his performance for Leeds United earlier this season I have low expectations. Then again, Tranmere through and through, maybe he’ll be on our side this time?

This really won’t be a pretty display. I don’t think anyone will be feeling optimistic for this, despite nicking 2 points of the Reds last season. But look, let’s be positive, I was dancing with the crowd at full time too knowing that we are still all in this together. We might grind something out there again and watch Klopp lose his mind in the post-match interview. I would snap your hand off for a point, both hands. Fede Fernandez on the starting line-up would give me a boost at least, he was great against Norwich.

I do feel like there is at least one surprise result coming to Newcastle soon. Hopefully one moment of madness from the superior opposition we face will occur. Hopefully Rafa is still driving Everton into the ground by the end of the year too. Alas, I think Liverpool are too good and we need to remember that at the end of this fixture if it does end up being a rout.

I’ll be content if we can hold our heads up and build some confidence for 2 massive home games with the crowd in full festive force. Let’s see what you’ve got Eddie!

 Danger Man: Mo Salah

 Prediction: 3-1 Liverpool, maybe we can grab a goal and keep it interesting.

 Emil Franchi @emil_franchi

 Dancing on thin ice

What was it that made my balls shrivel and climb up to nestle in my guts – the recent drop in temperature, or Newcastle’s unravelling at Leicester?

Sunday was a big opportunity to get some hope to take into a brutal run of festive fixtures. However, after conceding four goals to the Foxes, a great deal must change if we are going to get anything out of Liverpool away. Asking Jamal Lascelles to play out from the back is like asking a giraffe to try ice skating, or a Mackem to stop fucking his sisters; it’s impossible. Howe isn’t exactly blessed with options in any area of the pitch, but he surely has to start picking players who actually suit his footballing philosophy. Lascelles gets pelters but it’s not his fault; he’s being asked to do something that lays well outside of his skill set.

Newcastle’s entire back line against Leicester was shambolic. After watching that shit show, Klopp’s toothy grin must have increased its dazzle factor by at least another 10 kilowatts. Klopp, who wears a baseball cap with all the aplomb of a divorcee dad who’s been surfing his midlife crisis for the past decade, will know that his team’s gegenpressing™ should result in at least one gift-wrapped goal like the penalty so cheaply bought by Maddison. And if that doesn’t work, Liverpool’s front men can simply pass the ball through our defence like Leicester did for their fourth.

Leicester was a stark reminder that Howe still has his work cut out. NUFC remains a team in transition – it will take more time to undo all the damage inflicted by Ashley and Bruce. The positive signs we saw against Norwich and Burnley were amplified due to the poor nature of the opposition; any misapprehension that they could be carried into a game against an off-colour Leicester was stripped away in 90 minutes at the King Power Stadium.

Therefore, it would require Liverpool to have an absolute stinker and Howe’s Mags to play out of their collective skin to get a draw at Anfield, never mind a win. It’s sad to say, but my realistic hopes for Thursday night are for an improved performance and to try and keep the score line respectable. At least that would be something warming to take with us into SJP as we host Man City this weekend.

Prediction: 5-1

Danger Man: Sadio Mané

Dan Jenkins  @PlumsGinger

 Fight…

This week may see a fixture list from hell but here’s the news folks, we have to play the top sides sometime and most already have.

We had the perfect start to the season fixture wise but completely blew it so games like Liverpool now come flying at us like a runaway train.

Here lies the difficulty of the situation for me. If we couldn’t handle the pace and passing of Southampton or indeed a half-baked Leicester, how do we even dream of getting anything here.

The answer is we won’t. I think we will comfortably lose, but there are ways of losing.

Newcastle must go and show some fight and make things difficult for a Liverpool side who have had moments in the last year or so.

The teams that have got any joy at Anfield lately, have took the game to them, Brighton did that and got a point and Southampton, Arsenal and AC Milan all had big moments before being swept away by Salah .

Liverpool are now in a three-way situation where they HAVE to win every game, almost old firm like and if it’s not going that way by the hour mark, the stakes dictate they become more vulnerable,  we have to be still in the game then. Klopp also is weird about the Christmas fixture lists; you never know who might not appear.

Easier said than done of course and we have neither the players nor tactical nous to do this, but no more free hits now so in this sort of game we even have to battle our hearts out for goal difference.

No game is it acceptable for NUFC to just lose heavily and shrug our shoulders. Not with fans travelling and spending in such numbers.

I’m in the minority in that i didn’t think we were that bad against Leicester or indeed that good against Burnley, what deflated me about Leicester was the manner of defeat which had Championship stamped all over it.

This game must not be a repeat of just downing tools, if it is we are in trouble and looking at a hammering.

Last year is a perfect template for us to go on.

Prediction: 2-0.

Scott Robson

 Enough, already…

We already need snookers to stay up, and home wins over the likes of Burnley will not be enough if we’re going to collect another 25 to 30 points.

The more eagle-eyed will have spotted that we don’t play Burnley at home again this season.  So we cannot afford to be defeatist, going into the next three matches.  Losing to Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd would leave us with 10 points from 19 matches and needing to show Champions League form to stay up.

We haven’t been in the Champions League since Jamal Lewis was at Tumble Tots.  So if not now, fucking when?  If not at Anfield, fucking where?

Liverpool are alright.  They’ll be there or thereabouts again.  But in their last two games, they’ve not been too great.  They took 94 minutes to break the deadlock against Wolves, and only scraped past Aston Villa due to a Salah penalty.

So, do we fancy it or not?  Are we going to write Thursday off, or are we going to remember that Liverpool already played an extra game last week in the Champions League, and have an extra one next week in the League Cup?

Do we fancy using that to our advantage and getting stuck into them early doors?  Do we fancy taking heart from the fact we didn’t lose to them home or away last season?  Or are we going to make excuses and write this one off as a lost cause, like we did at Arsenal and Leicester, just because we’re not fancied to get anything.

If only we were playing someone other than Liverpool.  If only, if only, if only.  If only Joelinton hadn’t fallen flat on his arse against Brentford.  If only Clark hadn’t taken leave of his senses against Norwich.  If only Murphy hadn’t fluffed his one-on-one against Watford.  Well, if only my auntie had balls, she’d be my uncle, as the saying goes.

Enough already.  Please.

I’ve got to back us to get something because we’re running out of time and excuses.

 Danger Man: Salah

 Prediction: 1-1 (Willock)

Yousef Hatem @yousef_1892

 There may be trouble ahead…

The Magpies are back on the road once more! This time it’s to Merseyside as they visit Jurgen Klopp’s high-flying Liverpool.

The Red’s will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to eight games out of eight in all competitions. Last time out, Liverpool won 1-0 against Aston Villa whilst the Magpies suffered a devastating 4-0 defeat to Leicester at the King Power Stadium. Jurgen Klopp’s men haven’t lost a game at home in 20 matches, a feat that they will be wanting to extend.

Eddie Howe’s boys were brought crashing back down to earth after their win against Burnley and remain level on points with Norwich who occupy the bottom place of the Premier League. The Magpies away record is the worst in the league with only three points taken from a possible 24 and only netting five times on rival turf.

Liverpool Team News: Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott & Nat Phillips will miss the game, but Jurgen Klopp will be boosted by the return to training of DivockOrigi and Roberto Firmino.

Newcastle Team News: There are no fresh injury concerns for The Magpies as Paul Dummett is the only player on his injury list who continues his rehabilitation. Eddie Howe is expected to make a few changes to the team that lost heavily to Leicester and favour a five-man defence.

Sutty’s Match Prediction: The frustrating thing with Newcastle United is that they often get beat of the teams they are expected to win against and then get a result against the teams they don’t face a chance with. The Magpies haven’t won away to Liverpool in the Premier League since the 1993-94 season and it is unlikely they will change that record if they play like they did against Leicester. I can’t see Newcastle coming away from Anfield with a share of the points or a win.

Prediction: Liverpool 3 Newcastle 1

Jack Sutton @jsuttonwrites

Time to get padded up…

It’s going to be a cricket score. But all I ask is we try and give it a go. I can’t stand the term ‘it’s a free hit’ as it’s nonsense. This Newcastle team is getting beaten by this Liverpool team 99 time out of 100 so at least have a go at scoring a goal.  Something that was sadly lacking from Sunday’s performance.

From a team perspective I’d imagine it will much the same as Sunday. Although I would be looking at dropping ASM and Miggy (puts tin hat on). Neither of them are wingers and we are playing them as wingers – I think? I’d be looking to bring some help in CM with perhaps Hayden playing in front of the back 4 – not that it’s going to help very much with that Liverpool front three.

We’re unlikely to trouble the scorers both in terms of goals and points over the next 3 weeks so I’m almost more interested in the other teams who are playing around as we need them all to lose as well. We need to be within touching distance in the new year otherwise we are Donald Ducked.

Back to the Liverpool game. They are really good, all over the pitch. We are really, really bad, all over the pitch.  If we play like our last two away games I fear for a record score, I really do. I’m shite at predicting scores, goal scorers etc, so on that basis we have great chance of winning.

 Danger Man: The entire Liverpool team.

 Prediction:10-0

 Tim Wood @Geordie2Step