With just four Premier League games remaining, and with United still in a perilous league position, the need to pick up points as soon as possible shouldn’t need to be highlighted.
I’m going out on a limb here, but I honestly think one win would make us safe and would ensure we have Premier League football next season after this disastrous campaign. Mathematically it’s not enough, but that one win should realistically be enough.
Getting those points as soon as possible is the ideal scenario. The pressure would be off us and would be applied to the teams below us – namely Wigan and Aston Villa – who are now the only two sides below us who can catch us.
Standing in the way of us getting those three points are a Liverpool side who have been dragged through the press this week due to the actions of their cannibalistic striker Luis Suarez and his well documented biting incident culminating in the Uruguayan being handed a ten-game suspension, a suspension he is considering contesting.
It’s slightly better news on the injury front for United for this match. According to Alan Pardew, Hatem Ben Arfa is looking fitter, Cheik Tiote has trained, Papiss Cisse is fine and Fabricio Coloccini is closing in on a return although is unlikely to feature in this game.
News is still awaited regarding the availability of Sylvain Marveaux although I suspect he’ll be out and will join Tim Krul, Davide Santon, Ryan Taylor and Haris Vuckic on the sidelines.
Luis Suarez is most definitely suspended for this one. Even if he decides to appeal the length of the ban he has already admitted violent conduct so will serve the mandatory three-game ban that such an offence carries. The only part of the punishment he could appeal is the additional seven games added onto his violent conduct charge which hopefully clarifies things.
Suarez won’t be the only absentee however as Martin Kelly, Joe Allen and Fabio Borini are all out injured.
United managed a 1-1 draw at Anfield earlier on in the season courtesy of a fine goal by Yohan Cabaye which was subsequently cancelled out by the Angry Beaver.
Newcastle have the upper-hand historically at St James’ Park. In total, 77 games have been played on Tyneside with United coming out on top on 31 occasions compared to 23 victories for Liverpool.
Overall though it is the Reds who hold the advantage when all games at all grounds are considered. There have been 157 meetings between the two sides with Liverpool winning 76 times, Newcastle winning 43 times with 38 draws making up the numbers.
Stats and facts:
Newcastle are looking for a third successive home win over Liverpool. If they are successful it will be the first time we’ve managed three home wins on the spin against the Reds for 63 years.
United have the third worst defensive record in the league having conceded 60 goals already this term. Only Reading and Aston Villa have conceded more.
The winning team in this fixture has scored a minimum of two goals in the last 12 league meetings.
Reading and QPR play on Sunday in what is essentially a relegation play-off. Whichever side loses will be relegated whilst the other side will live to fight another day. A draw could see both sides relegated if Aston Villa manage at least a point at home to Sunderland on Monday night.
Wigan host Tottenham prior to our match. If Wigan lose and we win our game they will be nine points behind us with only four games to play meaning that we would have to lose all of our games whilst Wigan try and win three of their four remaining fixtures after the Tottenham game. A Wigan win though would see the pressure cranked up on us, especially if we fail to beat Liverpool.
Bizarrely, if all results go our way including ours, then we could find ourselves in 12th place come the end of the weekend, above the Mackems, nine points away from 18th place with two of the three relegation places gone.
It’s going to be another cagey affair but a win at any cost is what matters the most. I’m even past the stage of caring how we play as long as we get the three points.
Of course not having to face Luis Suarez is a massive plus, but Liverpool are still dangerous and still have other players who can inflict damage upon us, and by that comment I mean the likes of Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge.
To sum it up, anything could happen.
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 27th April, 2013
Venue: St James’ Park