Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool: Suarez Nets Again In Bridge Stalemate

By Robert Nevitt

Luis Suarez struck for the fourth consecutive game to hand Liverpool a point against a profligate Chelsea.



The home side took a first-half lead through returning captain John Terry, but wasteful finishing from the Blues saw Liverpool grow in confidence, with Suarez' 73rd minute equaliser enough to rescue a point.

In fact, it could have got even better for the visiting Reds, with Blues' stopper Petr Cech denying both Suarez and Jose Enrique in the final minutes of the game.

With centre-half Martin Skrtel ruled out through illness, Reds' boss Brendan Rodgers recalled veteran defender Jamie Carragher and fit-again Glen Johnson as he chose to field a 3-5-2 formation, aimed at denying the space to star Chelsea trio Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar.

But in as early as the fifth minute, the latter could, and maybe should, have breached the Reds' backline. Joe Allen was caught dallying on the ball in midfield, allowing Hazard to set Oscar away, only for the Brazilian to lift the ball over both Brad Jones and the crossbar.
The Reds' regained composure as they looked for their fourth consecutive win at Stamford Bridge, but with Allen in particular guilty of giving away possession, they often started Chelsea attacks rather than created their own.

On 20 minutes, they were punished when the home side took the lead and almost inevitably it came from the head of captain Terry.

The Blues' defender was making his comeback from his four-game suspension for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, and he marked his return by escaping the attentions of the blocked Daniel Agger to rise and power home Mata's corner.

The home side were now in full flow and five minutes later nearly doubled their lead.

Ex-Reds' striker Fernando Torres had started well and nearly broke his duck against his old club when his shot was blocked by Jones, with the rebound falling to Hazard eight yards out, though the Belgian could only fire his half-volley wide of the Australian stopper's post.

Liverpool eventually managed to venture towards the hosts' goal when Nuri Sahin fired wide from 20 yards.

It was from a Liverpool attack that Blues' goalscorer Terry's afternoon went sour when his tangle with Suarez saw the Uruguayan land on the former England captain's right leg, resulting in the Blues' skipper departing on a stretcher with what looked like a long-term knee injury.

But despite the loss of their captain, Chelsea continued to dominate the half and should have gone in at the break two-nil up, with Mata's excellent run not matched by his wayward finish.

After the restart, the pattern of the game continued with Allen giving the ball away and receiving a yellow card for pulling back the advancing Torres.

The Spaniard was clearly desperate to get his name on the scoresheet and would have done on 55 minutes when he rose to meet Oscar's teasing free-kick, only for Jones to pull off a fine reflex save.

With the Reds struggling to assert any sort of control, boss Rodgers' made a change bringing on Suso for the ineffective Nuri Sahin, and reverting to a flat back four with youngster Andre Wisdom moved to right-back.

The immediate aftermath of the change saw Torres inches away from a Ryan Bertrand cross, but with the Reds now playing 10 yards further up the pitch they started to wrestle possession from their hosts with attacking trio Suso, Suarez and Raheem Sterling seeing more of the ball in the final third.

And on 73 minutes they were rewarded for their change of tact.

Wisdom did well to win possession on the halfway line and swap passes with Suarez before winning a corner off Chelsea sub Gary Cahill. Spaniard Suso flighted in a cross from which Carragher brilliantly flicked the ball on towards the far post where Suarez gave Ramires a nudge to create space to head home from no more than two yards.

So often labelled as wasteful himself, this was the Uruguayan's eighth strike of the league campaign already and 11th in total, showing that he is clearly revelling in the role of Liverpool's sole senior striker.

Shocked by conceding, Blues' boss Roberto Di Matteo threw on midweek Champions League hero Victor Moses for Oscar, before Daniel Sturridge entered the action in place of Torres, much to the delight of the visiting fans who once adored the Spanish number nine.

But the changes didn't have the desired effect for Di Matteo, with a now confident-looking Liverpool side looking most likely to snatch a win.

Sterling's cross was fired wide by Suso, before Suarez cheeky attempt from the halfway line caused brief panic for Cech.

There was even more of a worry for the Czech keeper when Enrique's through ball set Suarez away, though the Blues' keeper did well to get a foot in as the Uruguayan attempted to go round him.

As the match entered injury time, Ivanovic headed over for the Blues before the Reds almost snatched all three points when a flowing move saw Suarez tee up Enrique, whose left-foot drive was well turned away by Cech at his near post.

The result did little for Chelsea's attempt to keep in touch with the two Manchester clubs at the top of the table, but for visitors Liverpool this was a valuable point, especially after the first-half performance.

This was the third consecutive league draw for Rodgers' side, but more importantly after 3 defeats in their opening five games of the season, the Reds are now unbeaten in their last six league games.

The Reds will now embark on a run of they will class as winnable games and with Suarez in a rich vein of goalscoring, Rodgers will be confident that his side can finally start to climb the table.

LFC Scout Report: Chelsea FC

By Ben Hardy

Liverpool aim to make it five league wins in a row against Chelsea in Sunday evening’s heavyweight clash at Stamford Bridge.



Both teams played in European competitions midweek, with mixed outcomes. Chelsea recorded a 3-2 win thanks to a late Victor Moses header against Shaktar where as a very youthful Liverpool, maybe with an eye on Sunday’s match, were beaten by Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League.

Chelsea will be looking to make their way back to the top of the League as defeat against Manchester United and a draw with Swansea in their last two league games has somewhat stunted their scintillating early season form and dented their title charge.

Team News

A welcome boost for the Blues’ defence sees skipper John Terry return to Premier League action after serving his FA imposed ban.

However Chelsea will once again be without left back Ashley Cole as the England international continues to struggle with the hamstring injury.

Cole sat out the midweek games against Shaktar Donetsk and is due back for next week’s games with West Brom.

Frank Lampard is still not fit and continues to be absent from the squad.

Key Players

All eyes will be on Fernando Torres, as is the case every time this fixture comes around. The £50million man has yet to record a win over his former club (he did not feature in the FA Cup final win).

The Spaniard has been enjoying some of his best form since making the move in January 2011, scoring four league goals so far.

In a team bursting with stars such as Chelsea’s is, it is difficult to pin point one or two key players. However, there have been stand out players already with the likes of Juan Mata grabbing headlines in recent matches and Eden Hazard constantly putting in man of the match performances all season.

To add to the excitement, there is also the progression of youngsters Ryan Bertrand, Oscar and Victor Moses amongst others to look forward too.

This current Chelsea squad clearly has the potential and promise to challenge for more League titles and Cups in the very near future.

If Liverpool can continue their good form over Chelsea and gain another victory, then this will be seen as one of the best due to the sheer talent facing them at Stamford Bridge.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Anzhi 1-0 Liverpool: Youthful Reds Suffer Narrow Loss In Russia

By Robert Nevitt

Giant striker Lacinda Traore scored in first-half stoppage time to give Anzhi Makhachkala a narrow 1-0 victory over a youthful Liverpool side.

The 6ft 8in Ivorian produced the game's one moment of class as he lifted the ball over Sebastian Coates, before lofting a bouncing ball over the advancing Brad Jones to lift the the mega-rich Russian side to the top of Group A and deliver a blow to the Reds' hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

With Sunday's daunting Premier League trip to Chelsea clearly taking priority, Reds' boss Brendan Rodgers once again chose to leave a host of star players back on Merseyside, including Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling.

In their places, Rodgers named an inexperienced side containing no fewer than nine Englishmen, with 19-year old midfielder Conor Coady handed his debut and 18-year old striker Adam Morgan given another chance to impress. Birthday boy Joe Cole, who was celebrating turning 31 years old, was also handed another opportunity to stake a claim for regular first-team football.

With Anzhi's stadium in Dagestan failing to meet UEFA's safety criteria, the match was switched a massive 1,250 miles to Moscow, meaning there was a sparse crowd of only 15,000 in the Lokomotiv Stadium.

Despite an average age of only 24, even after the inclusion of 34 year old Jamie Carragher, Liverpool's youngsters acquitted themselves well early on, confidently knocking the ball about with Jonjo Shelvey particularly impressive in a central midfield berth.

Midway through the first-half, the visitors should have been rewarded for their bright start, when a fine move saw Morgan show good strength to play the ball through for Jordan Henderson, only for the £16m midfielder to see an attempted pass to Cole cut out when he would have been better served going for goal himself.

That spurred the home side into action with former Chelsea left-back Yuri Zhirkov robbing Andre Wisdom before teeing up Samuel Eto'o, whose effort was well turned over the bar by Jones.

With chances few and far between on an icy-cold Moscovian night, the game looked to be heading for the break goalless until the hosts struck in stoppage time.

Mbark Boussoufa played the ball into Traore, who produced a deft touch to flick the ball over the head of Reds' defender Coates. The striker then ran onto the ball and with keeper Jones coming to the edge of the box, Traore confidently lobbed the bouncing ball over the Reds' keeper into the empty net.

The goal was harsh on Rodgers' young side who, by playing with five at the back, had stifled their opponents during the first period, though they did manage to regroup with Morgan firing into the side-netting shortly after the restart.

Buoyed by the breakthrough though, Anzhi upped their tempo with Eto'o, who was occupying a deeper role to the one in which he has made his name, curling an effort wide of the post, before Rasim Tagirbekov fired just wide of Jones' upright.

On the hour mark, Rodgers made a double substitution with Spanish duo Suso and Daniel Pacheco coming on for Coady and Morgan.

The change immediately saw the Reds gain greater possession with Suso's guile and creativity giving the Reds a new-found threat.

They nearly found themselves two-down though with 15 minutes remaining when Arseni Logashov's fine cross found Traore, who headed straight at Jones, when a yard either side would have seen the Reds' keeper beaten.

Liverpool responded with Suso skipping past a couple of challenges before unleashing a powerful left-foot shot which Anzhi keeper Vladimir Gabulov couldn't hold, but recovered well to block Cole's rebound.

It was the last piece of action for former England midfielder Cole who despite offer a good level of workrate, once again struggled to make any impression on the game and continues to disappoint in a Reds' shirt.

With the game now starting to stretch, Traore broke clear only to shoot wide of the post, before Henderson curled an effort harmlessly wide for the visitors.

The last 10 minutes saw Liverpool increase their efforts in search of an equaliser, but as has often been the case this season, their lack of a cutting edge, worsened with the omission of top-scorer Suarez, saw them fail to seriously threaten their opponents' goal.

Despite Liverpool fielding a largely-unrecognisable eleven, the final whistle saw the hosts celebrate victory as if they'd played one of the great Reds' sides of the past.

The victory saw Guus Hiddink's men replace the Reds as group leaders, though Young Boys win over Udinese in the group's other game still leaves Rodgers' men handily placed for qualification to the knockout stages.

A win at Anfield over the Swiss side and anything but a Udinese win in Anzhi would see Liverpool qualify with a game to spare. And with the European adventure being used as an opportunity for Rodgers to rest star players and introduce youngsters, that scenario would prove almost perfect for the Reds' boss.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Five Things We've Learned: Liverpool v Newcastle United

By Robert Nevitt

1. "LUIS SUAREZ.. WE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE!...."

It's a familiar chant amongst opposition fans, a chant reminding Luis Suarez of his past misdemeanours.

But whilst rival fans are referring to something else in regards the Uruguayan striker, Reds' fans have another term for what Suarez is... World Class!

With Liverpool desperately short on options in striking areas, Suarez has been tasked as the Reds' main, and often only, goalthreat, something which he is revelling in.



A creator supreme, Suarez' twists, turns and nutmegs have led many a Premier League defence a merry dance so far this season, whilst his finishing, something which he is often criticised for, has improved over recent weeks so much so that he already has 10 goals to his name this season, seven of which have come in the league. Had it not been for the linesman's incorrect decision at Goodison last weekend, that tally would be higher.

Against Newcastle United on Sunday, Suarez was literally a one-man attacking machine. Time and again he ran Geordies' skipper Fabricio Coloccini ragged, so much so that the Argentinian defender eventually lost patience and swung his right boot down Suarez' calf to earn himself a red card, and a breather!

Suarez' fine display was rewarded when he grabbed the Reds' equaliser, though the word grabbed is doing it a severe injustice.

A long raking ball over the Newcastle defence from Jose Enrique saw Suarez get in front of marker Coloccini once more. As the ball dropped, Suarez controlled it on his left shoulder, used his next touch to round the advancing Tim Krul, before tapping in from no more than two yards with his third touch.

It was a sensational goal, but nothing more than Liverpool fans have come to expect from their number seven.

After all, "Luis Suarez.. We know what you are!"

2. TIME FOR STRIKER TO BE ON THE BENCH

The post-match analysis from Sunday's 1-1 draw with Newcastle United was the same as the majority of those which have followed Liverpool matches of late.

A good team performance saw the Reds' dominate possession, spend most of their time in their opponents' half and create the majority of the games' chances. But as in the previous games, the lack of striking options, the excellent Suarez apart, meant that the Reds were unable to breach the Magpies' goal more than once, resulting in a share of the spoils.

As already noted, Suarez was at the peak of his powers and couldn't have offered any more of a threat, so the problem clearly lies with his supporting cast.

Short on numbers, Rodgers has had no choice but to plump for his youngsters as Suarez' main accomplices.

Raheem Sterling has shone with his pace and movement stretching defences, but apart from his winner against Reading, the young winger hasn't displayed the coolness needed in front of goal, with a miss against Alan Pardew's men on Sunday adding to a similar one in last weekend's Merseyside derby.

On the other side, Suso, although not as obvious a threat as Sterling, has offered guile and creativity to the Reds' attack. The young Spaniard though has been unable to stamp his authority on games for long periods, instead flitting in and out of games. More suited to a deeper creative midfield role, he doesn't look the sort of player capable of chipping in with 10 goals a season.

Midfield-wise, whilst Joe Allen's passing accuracy doesn't translate to efforts on goals, Nuri Sahin has at least showed that he is capable of getting beyond the strikers to score, The same applies to Jonjo Shelvey, but talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard often looks too far away from goal to offer a threat.

With the first eleven struggling, thoughts inevitably turn to the subs bench, but the lack of goalscoring options there is worrying, no laughable.

On Sunday, the six outfield subs read, Coates, Carragher, Henderson, Assaidi, Downing and Shelvey. Players with less than 10 Liverpool goals between all six of them, and in Coates/Carragher, Assaidi/Downing, and to a certain extent Henderson/Shelvey, players who offer the same things.

Surely Rodgers should instead use one of the places to include an up-and-coming goalscorer, a genuine goalthreat

Yes, Samed Yesil, Adam Morgan and Dani Pacheco have already tasted action in the first-team and subsequently struggled, but that was as part of much-changed experimental line-ups. Alongside the likes of Suarez and Gerrard, their long-term careers would surely benefit, as well as offering the team a short-term boost of an increased goalthreat.

It's going to be a long 2 months until a Huntelaar shaped striking reinforcement is able to arrive in January, even longer if, and when, Suarez picks up his 5th booking of the season and serves a one-game suspension, so with goals already hard to come by, surely now is the time Rodgers to look to the youngsters once more.

3. SOMETIMES THE DIRECT APPROACH PAYS DIVIDENDS

Sunday's game was another match in which Liverpool dominated possession.

Back to front, side to side, Liverpool moved the ball about trying to create an opportunity. 64% of possession and more than double the amount of successful passes than their opponents, suggests they kept the ball well enough.

But the one time the Reds actually made a significant inroad towards Newcastle's goal, it didn't come from a series of short pretty five-yard passes.

When Jonas Gutierrez' wayward pass fell to the feet of Jose Enrique, just inside his own half the Reds' left-back could have followed the pattern of the rest of the game by building from the back with a short pass to one of Daniel Agger, Joe Allen or Raheem Sterling.

Instead, the Spaniard looked up and launched a 50-yard pass over the top of the Newcastle defence.

Immediately it caused panic as the opposition defenders had to turn and run towards their own goal, something they hadn't really done up until that point.

Unfortunately for Coloccini and his teammates though, Suarez had read Enrique's intentions earlier, giving him enough of an advantage to arrive in the box first to control brilliantly, beat Krul and tap into the empty net.

The finish was a thing of beauty, but, after seeing the Reds "tip-tap" the ball about without really creating anything, so too was Enrique's pass.

It showed that a bit of variation can help unlock defences, especially at home. It would be good to see the Reds try it a bit more often.

4. RARE OFF-DAY FOR PASSMASTER ALLEN

One of the surprises from Sunday's game was a below-par performance from Reds' midfielder Joe Allen.

Since his summer move from Swansea City, Allen has slotted into the Reds' midfield with ease. His busy nature, ability to win the ball back and amazing pass accuracy, he regularly registers a successful rate in the mid-nineties, has seen the young Welsh star win plenty of plaudits.

However, against Newcastle, Allen suffered arguably his least impressive performance in a Liverpool shirt.

Stats-wise the diminutive midfielder was still amongst the top players. He won 4 out of 5 tackles, and his pass success rate was still as high as 86% from 86 attempts.

But such has been his start to life at Anfield, Kopites had to rub their eyes when Allen gave the ball away cheaply on a number of occasions, particularly in the first half, which allowed Newcastle to slowly recover from a very shaky start.

His 86% pass rate is also misleading as he often dropped deep to send short passes to teammates, when it may have been better to let the likes of Agger or Skrtel bring the ball out of defence, allowing Allen to dictate play further forward.

In general terms, Allen's performance was by no means poor, but such are the levels he has already reached at Anfield, the Welsh star will no doubt be disappointed with his performance.

5. IT NEVER RAINS BUT IT POURS

Liverpool's problems at Anfield over the past year or so have been well-documented.

This season alone, 8 out of 11 matches at Anfield, including Europa League and Capital One Cup ties, have seen the away side leave with at least a share of the spoils. Worse still, in the calendar year 2012 the Reds have enjoyed only three league wins in front of their own supporters, whilst back-to-back victories have not been recorded for over 12 months.

But Sunday's game showed that it's not just the results on the pitch that is proving to be a problem at Anfield.

As the home support sat down for their half-time cup of tea, already reeling after Yohan Cabaye had put the visitors ahead two minutes earlier, a rogue sprinkler only served to further incense the Reds' fans when it malfunctioned and ending up soaking a section of the Main Stand instead of the pitch!

As the dripping wet fans looked on in both anger and amazement, the latest mishap at Anfield brought only one phrase to mind.... "It never rains but it pours".

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle United: Suarez Strikes As Reds Stutter At Home Once More

By Robert Nevitt

Liverpool's stuttering home form continued as 10-man Newcastle United became the eighth visiting side to avoid defeat at Anfield already this season.

After going ahead through Yohan Cabaye's strike two minutes before half-time, the Geordies could even have been heading back to Tyneside with all three points, had it not been for yet another virtuoso performance from Reds' striker Luis Suarez, who earned his side a point with a sensational equaliser midway through the second-half.


But, with Argentine defender Fabricio Coloccini sent-off for a foul on Suarez with six minutes remaining, Alan Pardew's visitors will be more than happy to leave with a share of the spoils.

After Wednesday night's home defeat to Swansea City saw the Reds surrender their grip on the League Cup, boss Brendan Rodgers reverted to the starting line-up that drew with Everton last weekend, with Pepe Reina and Glen Johnson once again ruled out through injury, whilst skipper Steven Gerrard lined up for his 600th Liverpool appearance.

Despite not having won at Anfield since 1994, Newcastle came to Anfield confident of victory, with boss Pardew picking a bold 4-3-3 formation, despite missing influential midfielder Cheik Tiote through suspension.

But, it was the home side who started the game the brighter, with the movement and pace of Suarez and Raheem Sterling stretching the Newcastle defence a number of times in the opening 10 minutes.

In fact, the Reds felt they should have had a penalty on six minutes when Suarez' was caught by Coloccini, but with the ball striking the Newcastle defender, referee Anthony Taylor waved away the Uruguayan's protests.

With the home side buoyant, young Spaniard Suso saw an effort diverted for a corner, before fellow teenager Sterling fired wide from 20 yards.

But after once again failing to turn their dominance into goals, the Reds suddenly started to get sloppy in possession, in particular the normally-reliable Joe Allen, allowing Newcastle to slowly get a foothold in the game.

The visitors were dealt a blow midway through the half though when midfielder James Perch was forced off through injury, though the forced change actually helped the visitors, with Vurnon Anita's switch from right-back to midfield allowing sub Danny Simpson to come on at right-back meaning the Geordie defence was better equipped to cope with the threat posed from the pace of winger Sterling.

After that, despite a couple of Suarez efforts and an overly-ambitous 60-yard attempted lob from Gerrard, to which Magpies' keeper Tim Krul looked ill-impressed, Liverpool's threat waned.

And to make matters worse for the home side, the visitors struck two minutes before half-time with virtually there first meaningful attack of the game.

When Ba found Hatem Ben Arfa wide on the right, the French winger, faced by Jose Enrique and the backtracking Sterling, showed good skill and pace to reach the byline and cross to the far post, where fellow countryman Cabaye showed great composure to chest the ball down and fire an excellent half-volley past Brad Jones into the far corner of the Kop net.

As if that setback wasn't bad enough for the home support, the half-time interval saw no respite as a faulty pitchside sprinkler resulted in a section of the Anfield support getting a soaking along with the first few rows of the Directors box, though the dignitaries were lucky enough to be sampling the food and drink on offer in one of the Anfield suites.

When play restarted, no doubt on the orders of boss Rodgers, Liverpool immediately upped their tempo, with Suarez their main creative force.

The Uruguayan forced Krul into a save, before a mazy run saw him play the ball through for Nuri Sahin who fired a left-foot shot inches past the Dutch keeper's far post.

On 65 minutes, Rodgers made his first change of the afternoon, bringing on Jonjo Shelvey in place of Suso, who had struggled to make an impact despite some good touches.

Within 90 seconds of the change the Reds were level as Suarez produced a moment of brilliance.

There seemed little danger when Gutierrez wayward pass fell to the feet of Enrique in the Liverpool half. But when the Spaniard hit a long pass over the Newcastle defence, Suarez got in front of marker Coloccini, controlled the ball on his chest, used his second touch to take the ball past keeper Krul, then his third to roll it into the empty net from no more than two yards out.

Within two minutes, Suarez turned provider when he forced his way through down the right before laying the ball off for Shelvey, who, with the goal at his mercy, failed to connect properly allowing Krul to gather.

With top-scorer Ba having left the field through injury shortly after-half time soon followed by goalscorer Cabaye, Newcastle were now finding it hard to stem the Liverpool attack, with another Suarez run and pass sending Sterling clear, only for Magpies' defender Steven Taylor to produce a brilliant last-ditch block.

The Reds were now dominant, but were finding it hard to create any further clear cut chances.

On 84 minutes they were given a helping hand when, following an afternoon of being turned one way then another by Suarez, Coloccini gave ref Taylor little option than to brandish a red card when he aimed a wild lunge at the Uruguayan's calf.

With a man advantage, Liverpool camped in their opponents' half in search of a late winner.

Shelvey saw a shot saved by Krul then sent a weak header into the keeper's hands, before a Suarez free-kick deflected up into the air and bounced over the Magpies' stopper onto the bar.

But the Reds could not find a winner and had to settle for a point at home once more.

Including cup games, this was the eighth home game out of eleven where Liverpool have failed to win.

Performance-wise it was another good Reds' display, but as in other games, the lack of options up front meant Rodgers' side struggled to turn their dominance into goals, despite Suarez' brilliance.

It's been said many times before and will no doubt be repeated on more than one occasion in the next two months, but the Reds' must be counting down the days to the re-opening of the transfer window.

Brendan Rodgers praises star striker Suarez after draw with Newcastle

By Michael Owen

Brendan Rodgers saw plenty of positives in Liverpool's one all draw with Newcastle United at Anfield on Sunday, reserving the highest praise for start striker and Reds goalscorer on the day Luis Suarez. 


Suarez's showed his quality to bring Liverpool level following a first-half goal from Yohan Cabaye, running onto an inch perfect ball from Jose Enrique, taking the cross down well before rounding keeper Tim Krul and firing home. 

The goal clearly pleased Liverpool boss Rodgers, who claimed the former Ajax man is "unplayable" when he's at his best. 

"I thought he was unplayable. Coloccini getting sent off was frustration. I don't think he could get near him today, and he's a good defender, Coloccini. He has been a great player over these last number of years for Newcastle." Rodgers stated.

"Suarez is so bright, so clever, he's a world-class striker. On that form today he really frustrates and provokes defenders.

"He is an absolute joy to work with. Every single day he's in the train, to get better and improve. He's still a young player and he's committed his best years to us here."

The Reds boss also alluded to his intentions to add to his strike force in the January transfer window, stating Suarez will be even more of a danger when other forwards are added to the line-up to take some of the goalscoring workload.

"We play him in that false 9 role. He's not a traditional No.9 who's up there, stood, static. That's why when we get a number of players in who can work off his qualities, that's going to make us a real threat.

"I ask him to get on the move and get defenders out of their positions. It's then important that we've got men running in off that.

"If we can add to the group, you can see the excitement in our team. We have got a lot of young players, the senior players have been fantastic.

"For now we'll keep plugging away and working hard."

Saturday, November 03, 2012

LFC Scout Report: Newcastle United

By Ben Hardy

Newcastle travel to Anfield on Sunday hoping to take advantage of Liverpool's poor home form in a match where both teams are desperate for the three points as the Christmas period beckons.


Liverpool have been overtaken by Newcastle in recent years as a Premier League force and now is the time to rectify that and push Liverpool back up the league with this new era of young talent.

Liverpool endured a disappointing 1-3 Capital One Cup defeat at home to Swansea midweek where as Newcastle had the night off after being previously knocked out.

There is no time to dwell on the loss however as the games come thick as fast at this time of year. All attention must be fixed on the visit of an efficient Newcastle team and make sure the form shown at Anfield improves in the near future.

Newcastle, lingering in tenth position, seemed to have struggled to gain any form or momentum so far. Only two defeats out of nine however is encouraging but with four draws and three wins, the Magpies need to be turning one point into three if they are to recreate last season's fine feat and finish in the top six.

A good run in the Europa League could be important in terms of form, two wins and a draw puts them top of Group D but as is so often the case, can they maintain their good performances in both cup and the league? or will they fade out towards the latter stage of the season? It is a tough balancing act.

Newcastle is a huge club and one that deserves European football meaning a lot of pressure will be put on Alan Pardew to qualify once again.

Team News

Newcastle's star striker Demba Ba has been rated "50-50" by boss Pardew but will be given a chance to prove his fitness before the match.

The inform attacker is a doubt for the trip to Anfield as he picked up a calf strain last time out against West Brom.

Ba is currently sitting joint top of the Premier League goal scoring charts with seven goals and his absence could be good news for the Red's chances of three points.

Another key player who will definitely be missing is Cheick Tiote as he continues to serve his three match ban after the red card against Sunderland.

Key Players

As Demba Ba is doubtful for the match, all eyes will turn to his Senegalese striking partner, Papiss Cisse. Having fortuitously scored his first league goal of the season last week, a lot will be expected of him to carry on Ba's early scoring form and for him to show his lethal goal scoring instinct that left us in awe last season.

Aiding Cisse will be Hatem Ben Arfa. The France international can deceive any defender at any ground due to his quick and clever foot work and his dribbles will have to be halted to stop him breaking through the Liverpool defence.

The Toon faithful will be hoping Fabricio Coloccini can reproduce his man of the match performance against Sunderland as a fired up Luis Suarez will be doing all he can to break through the defensive line.

Having only won three out of the last 14 league matches at home, the pressure is now being put on Brendan Rogers and his team to turn Anfield into a fortress once more and soon.



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