So yet another televised game and another one on ESPN. They seem to be blanket bombing us at present, we’ve had Stoke, West Ham, Steaua and now Newcastle today and I think there will be two more before the year is out.
For probably the first time this season I’m going into a game with a fair deal of optimism. I think we’ve seen enough in the last two performances, away to Spurs and then on Monday against Aston Villa, to suggest that we are slowly beginning to improve. The players certainly seem more confident and less reticent than they did earlier in the season?
All we really need to do is to try and translate this to our performances on the road and I guess there will never be better time to travel to St James’ Park particularly after this week’s bizarre goings on. Just as you thought Newcastle were becoming a stable, reasonably well run club with a sense of realism they go and shoot themselves in the foot yet again by sacking Chris Hughton. This time it’s different as the fans aren’t on board. I don’t really know what Hughton was expected to do. A crushing Championship win last season and wins at Arsenal, Everton Chelsea (in the cup) and of course the tonking of local rivals Sunderland in this campaign appear to count for nothing suggesting that Hughton’s days were numbered regardless of what he did?
The excuse that the owners wanted a more experienced manger is borne out by the appointment of Alan Pardew however, his record suggests he isn’t the man to put them were they feel they naturally belong, in their own minds at least? Perhaps he was all that was available at the time as surely no experienced manager worth his salt would touch Newcastle with a barge pole after this latest episode of foolhardiness? As usual the perennial favourite to take over was Martin O’Neill however he is an intelligent man which is why he will be probably watching this match on his TV.
I believe this is just the sort of knee jerk reaction we should avoid at Anfield. Although it has been easy to get annoyed with HRH at times this season and to criticise him is fair game we need to give him the courtesy of time to try and bring things around. Bringing down the guillotine at the first sign of things going pear shaped and as regularly as Mike Ashley and his predecessors seem to do Newcastle isn’t the answer. However, from our point of view, this latest bout of incompetence is convenient. Hopefully we will see a Newcastle team in disarray borne out of taking only two points out of the last fifteen available to them. There is also the insecurity and unfamiliarity that often characterises the new manager’s first game and hopefully in the stands the fans will more intent on letting the board and the owner know they feel about the treatment of Chris Hughton?
However, we shouldn’t need to rely on others state of mind. I believe that if we can produce the same positive outlook as we did against Spurs then victory will be ours. Torres will be back from baby watch and although Gerrard and Agger are a game or so away from a return, there seems to be positive vibe going through the team. For example only a few weeks ago there appeared to be rift between HRH and Glen Johnson. Now, after a few good performances from the full back, things appear to be on a more even keel with Hodgson saying he won’t be sold in the January window. Players such as Meireles and Maxi appear to finding their feet and wielding more influence. Ngog and Babel did well on Monday and Joe Cole is back from injury. Then there is Lucas who appears to finally hitting a vain of form that will silence many of his detractors from last season and before.
Prediction? I believe we will win this and win well if we can maintain the good form we’ve seen recently. We need to be positive, forget about Newcastle’s problems, take the game to them very early and get behind them. I hope the players can’t wait to get out there and build on Monday and I believe we will see encouraging evidence of this, 3-1 to us.