Newcastle vs. Liverpool - 27th April 5:30pm - Something for the weekend Sir?

Posted by Titi Camara on April 24, 2013, 07:13:01 PM

Newcastle vs. Liverpool
Saturday 27th April



An argument could be made that Liverpool FC have played their part in the most exciting ever game to grace every major comeptition they've entered! And what's more? They've won them all!

UEFA Cup 2001
Liverpool vs. Alavés
Liverpool and Europe go together like Scousers and Adidas trainees. The anticipation of meeting up with this old friend never requires kindling to get the fires burning and this was no different. It had been a long time since LFC had seen a major European final, so if anything, the fires were burning that much brighter, fuelled further by the two competitions already won that year with silverware to show (for which most supporters were still paying the hefty price of sore heads and Gandhi mouths). For those in a red shirt, passions were high, for those just high in the Dam they were anything but! Prior to the kick off Johann Cryuff is on record saying "it could be one of the dullest and most boring finals in recent memory", how wrong he was!
After just four minutes the industrious Babbel of the Mark1 variety had put Liverpool ahead and little more than 10 minutes later Gerrard doubled the lead. We were expressing ourselves well, with McAllister pulling the strings and Gerrard seemingly everywhere. At this stage it looked ours to lose! Soon after the second goal, Alavés responded with a substitution and a change of formation. It paid instant dividends, Alonso scoring to make it 2-1! The nerves were starting to jangle at this point but our belief was reaffirmed when McAllister restored the two goal advantage from the penalty spot! The stadium was really starting to bounce now!
Alavés came out fighting in the second half and were much the better side early on. Two quick sucker-punches from Moreno and all of a sudden it was 3 a piece, half the stadium (at least) asking how it had happened! The game ebbed and flowed until both managers decided to make some changes! God was finally on the pitch but would he be the difference? The commentator at the time certainly thought so!
“Oh that's fairytale, that's boy's own stuff. But it's been that sort of night, and it's wonderful to see” was how he described Fowler dancing through to score Liverpool’s 4th that would surely be the winner? We all hoped it would be but as we all know now, a certain Ex-Manc of esteemed heritage popped up right at the death to send us into an agonising bout of golden goal extra time!
Minutes into extra time and Alavés had the ball in the net, my heart dropped until I saw the flag! Christ on a bike that was close! After a second yellow card for Magno, Alavés were down to 10, combined with tiring legs you felt it had to be ours! The first half of extra time almost over and the red sea is rocking as Fowler sticks it in the onion bag but before the champagne could be popped the flag goes up! Fuckmonkeys! Another particularly hazy 10 minutes past with both teams coming close and Alavés having another player marched off for a second yellow!
Appropriately, the mercurial McAllister had the last kick of the ball, curling in another excellent set piece only for the unfortunate Geli to nod it into his own net! You fucking beauty!
For days, weeks and months afterwards this game had the dourest of Scotsmen lauding it as the most exciting final ever to be seen in European competition…they were right, if only for a time!

FA Cup 2006
Liverpool vs. West Ham
It had been five years since Duke Michael Owen of Chester had secured our previous FA Cup trophy with a late strike that broke cockandknee hearts and it was time to head back into Wales one final time for the last FA Cup final to be hosted in a stadium that had always done us proud!
In a first half largely dominated by the Hammers due to the ingenuity of a certain little Israeli and the industry of Reo-Coker, the Hammers came in 2-1 up at half time. An own goal from the normally heroic and steadfast Carragher was the first blow. A flowing move from West Ham saw the ball swung into the box from out wide only for Jamie to poke the ball past an out-rushing Reina! The second comedy moment again involved Reina, a shot from just outside the area squirmed under the keeper only to pop up in front of Dean Ashton to dink home! In finals like this you need a bit of luck but until that point all we got was the bad but  we weren’t done yet! A fine delivery from Gerrard saw Crouch connect to stick the ball in the bag only to see that bloody flag go up again!
Moments later and a carbon copy delivery from Stevie, but this time Cisse’s on the end on it and we’re finally back in this game! We still believe!
I have to admit to the second half being more than a little hazy, packed into a pub on the outskirts of town, it all came back into focus though when Gerrard smashed one home from relatively close range to level things up. Could we overcome those early mistakes and push on for the win? We’d fought our way back in, we had to believe! Then up pops the one who shall not be named (cos I’m scared of his mum) to put a lofty cross into the Liverpool box which sails over everyone, the keeper included and all of a sudden we’re behind again! This is the sort of thing that nightmares and heart attacks are made of!
Almost half an hour of wasted chances, substitutions, cramps passed in what seemed like seconds but we just couldn’t get back on terms. Right at the death with only seconds to spare, up pops Captain Fantastic with a wonder strike that will live long in the memory. A 30 yard screamer that could not be beaten and once again we’re back in this! Comethefuckon!
A tense and nervy period of extra-time followed with both sides noticeably tiring, cramp setting in to the point of players not being able to kick the ball into an open net! Even with penalties looming no side could find a way through, they had run themselves into the ground!
In the game of chance that followed, lady luck had changed her allegiance with LFC players netting 3 out of 4 chances. There was also time for the redemption of Reina’s reputation after his earlier mistakes, conversely saving 3 out of 4 strikes from the Hammers!
A breathless match, where players and fans gave their all, that will probably be remembered for one of the finest goals ever to grace this particular competition!

UEFA Champions League Final 2005
Liverpool vs. AC Milan
So much has been written about this game, it would like borderline onanism to try and add anything more but I’m all for a touch of self-flagellation, so a few keys points as to what made it just so!
A revered manager in his first season brings success we could only have dreamed of 12 months earlier!
The come back to end all come backs! At 3 down, many teams would have capitulated, but we held firm in our belief! For some reason, staring down the barrel seemed to galvanise us as a whole! Players, manager, fans! We came together to fight together, and as a reward, ultimately we won together!
A performance that optimised the analogy that the whole truly can be more than the sum of it’s parts, a philosophy rooted in LFC’s socialist ideals!
A Captain’s performance that highlighted just how lucky we have been to have Stephen fighting our cause for all these years!
Dudek showing off his Grobbelaar legs in a penalty shoot out that probably added several years to the lives of anyone who dared watch!
I would have loved to have been there, and I’m unbelievably jealous of those that were! When Shevchenko missed that final penalty the pub I was in turned into a borderline riot! Great times that will not be forgotten or possibly ever surpassed!

Premier League 1996
Liverpool vs. Newcastle
And finally some fucking relevance I here you cry! It may have been less than two decades ago but the footballing landscape at the top table looked very different! City and Chelsea fans could only dream of spending millions on fantasy league players, let alone winning the league or Europe’s top honours! Man U, Newcastle and Liverpool held the top three places in the league and with 8 points between 1st and 3rd (game in hand) there was everything still to play for!
It may not have been an era that was defined the spice boys, of men in horrific white suits, but they certainly put their mark on it! It was an era that was defined by both “snapyourlegs” hardmen enforcer’s and prima donna pretty boy flare players! When you look back at both sides on paper some of the names literally (well figuratively) jump out at you! Fowler, McManaman, Barnes, Beardsley, Ginola and Ferdinand! Both sides were blessed with some truly wonderful attacking talent and so it was probably little surprise that it was such an open and attacking game, full of goals!
It took less than 2 minutes for the game to come to life, the God of getting himself in the right place was up to his old tricks, finding space in the penalty box even whilst surrounded by Newcastle players. Fowler nods it home, it’s 1-0. End to end stuff followed, both sides showing just how expressive they could be whilst moving the ball up the pitch, Newcastle were coming back into this and it didn’t take long before the Geordies were on their feet! A tidy move finished off by the original biscuit tin head saw the scored levelled and the noise inside Anfield through the roof! The pressure cooker was about to blow!
Liverpool barely had time to pull up their socks and depending which camp you fell into, adjust your hair or reset your hardman stare, before Newcastle were at it again! Ginola, who had been head and shoulders above most of his team-mates, slammed home a second!
In other times, Anfield and the Kop, may have lost it’s voice, but not this time! The noise was defending as the home support urged it’s heroes forward and tried to suck the litany of missed chances into the net! Somehow we came in at the break still behind, but as easily as it could have been 2-2 it equally could’ve been 1-3!
Both sides came out fighting and it wasn’t long till Fowler was again showing was he was both so feared and revered, slotting home his second of the match! But again Liverpool players were caught napping as Newcastle delivered a sucker punch to the soft under belly that they had rarely left exposed that season. The lively and awkward Tino Asprilla restored their advantage, 2-3!
With still over half an hour to go, the belief was still there, fans and players alike! We were still pushing forward as the Kop roared the players on! Minutes later, the Liverpool pressure told, Collymore getting his first of the match! We were back on terms and in the ascendancy, with 20 minutes left and Newcastle going backwards it was looking like they were going to wilt under the sheer will of force of LFC! But they were resolute, they stood firm for 20 minutes, doing their best impression of Gandalf when confronted by Balrog! It looked like a draw was all it would be! Then Rush and Barnes proceed in a merry dance of 1-2’s, dancing all the way into the Newcastle penalty area before forgetting what the right steps were, thankfully Collymore knew what they were! He slammed it home from 20 yards in the 92nd minute! Cue mass hysteria! The jubilant scenes of LFC supporters all round the ground were in stark contrast to Keegan. He’d have probably loved it should he have won, instead, he was a visibly broken figure, slumped over the advertisement hoarding!

And so to the match! Both sides have exhibited similar traits this season, their only predictability being their inconsistency. Bookies must have made a fortune out of both teams this term! Liverpool’s current form has only been marginally better than the relegation threatened side, taking 9 points in comparison to Newcastle’s 7 in their last 6 outings (the standard of opposition for each in this period being largely comparable, if possibly a touch more difficult for us).

Recent meetings
2011-12 fixture | Sun 1st Apr 2012 4pm | Sport Direct Arena | Attendance: 52,363

         Newcastle 2 – 0 Liverpool
      Cissé (19, 59)     

Reverse fixture | Sun 4th Nov 2012 4pm | Anfield | Attendance: 44,803

           Liverpool 1 – 1 Newcastle
          Suarez (67)     Cabaye (43)

Liverpool: W L W D D D
Newcastle: W L L W L D

Top Scorers
Liverpool – Suarez (23) / Gerrard (10)
Newcastle – Cissé (13) / Cabaye (6)

Newcastle United 8
    P Cisse Rib Injury  27th Apr 13 
    C Tiote Hamstring Injury 27th Apr 13 
    S Marveaux Groin/Pelvis Injury no return date 
    T Krul Dislocated Shoulder no return date 
    D Santon Hamstring Injury 4th May 13 
    F Coloccini Back Injury 4th May 13 
    H Vučkić ACL Knee Injury 16th May 13 
    R Taylor ACL Knee Injury no return date
Liverpool 4
    R Sterling Hip/Thigh Injury no return date 
    J Allen Shoulder Injury no return date 
    F Borini Dislocated Shoulder 5th May 13 
    M Kelly ACL Knee Injury 5th May 13

The last time LFC visited “the toon” we were in a mess, having lost 6 of our last 7, due to a string of performances that showed the players had lost what little motivation they had started the campaign with! For those loyal, steadfast, supporters who had put their hands in their pockets to make the long trip up north they would be “rewarded” with an extremely odd game, full of failing giants and head-butting Spaniards, that would ultimately result in defeat!
Even though it could be argued, like this time last year, there is little to reach for, to push our players on, we are most certainly in a better place and a better frame of mind than were 12 months ago! Europe can only realistically be a summer holiday destination now but there is still the blue half that need pulling down a place for local bragging rights (if anyone can truly brag about finishing 6th!). Conversely, Newcastle really do have everything to play for! Perched precariously above the drop zone, staring financial ruin in the face like a Wall Street Banker from 1929, it’s shit or bust time! They’re a seemingly comfortable 6 points clear of the drop but when you look at their run-in, which includes us, QPR and Arsenal you see they’re definitely not out of the woods yet! 3 points for them this weekend would all but seal their safety though! Huge motivation!
Motivations aside, the other big change from 12 months ago are both the manager and playing staff! The eleven that played that day included Flannagan (now of Fiorentina), Spearing and Carroll, the previous two highlighting the lack of depth in the squad and the later highlighting the game plan we were trying to execute! In these respects, much has changed in the last year! We have removed some players deemed not fit for the system, not fit for the shirt or  just simply not fit! We are trying to employ a different style of play, more finesse and patience instead of a more direct and to the point approach! These changes have cultivated the green shoots of recovery we all crave, our current incumbent manager, nursing and moulding them as best he can! We now have an almost settled first 11/12, and a template that we attempt to adhere to each week! We ARE moving in the right direction and time will be the truth of that matter! Inconsistency driven by apparent poor attitude/commitment does need addressing, hopefully a summer of training the mind with the new doctor, as well as the body will pay out handsomely next term with more steel in our performances!

So questions to be asked!
Does the first 11 pick itself? If so what’s Rodgers doing to earn his money? Are all these players currently enjoying a run in the side there on merit?
Can Pepe be trusted not to stick the heed on an opposition player?
Are our current centre back pairing the best we could be employing in the starting line up right now?
Does Glen need a week off and should Wisdom get a start?
Given the absence of Dr.Lecter should Suso be given an opportunity?
Will the absence of our star man actually allow a more natural balance to our overall play?
4-2-4 or 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1?
Given we’re away from home and the imminent return of Tiote, should we be considering packing the midfield, possibly even giving Coady a go along Lucas, with Stevie further forward?
Should we go with all out greasy speed up front in the hope to do them on the break? Do we currently possess that option?

Do Newcastle have enough players to put 11 out on the pitch?
Will their fans have recovered from the humiliation they suffered the last time they were at home? Will they turn on their players at the slightest sniff of a bad day?
How will they set themselves up to cope with our attacking play?
Will their fans endear themselves further to Merseyside and further prove their ignorance with more chants relating to the economic depravity of a certain area?
A great deal to discuss so over to you!

As with all our previews, please note that RAWK will mute anyone posting just a formation in a Preview thread until the day after the match is over and more pointedly Harinder will hunt you down and force you to watch a Coronation Street omnibus, covered in stray cats, sat next to Graeme Souness!

Finally I just wanted to thank you for your indulgence, this is the first time I’ve done one of these and I may have gotten a touch carried away!

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