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Can Newcastle reaffirm their place in the top six with victory over Liverpool?

Newcastle host Liverpool tomorrow at St James Park (I refuse to use the other name).

The Magpies have been superb this season after some shrewd summer dealing from boss Alan Pardew.

On the other hand Liverpool haven’t lived up to expectations in the Premier League.

Comparison

There is simply no comparison between Liverpool and Newcastle’s summer transfer dealing. Liverpool spent a fortune on the British talent like Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson.

Newcastle decided to bring in foreign talent in Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye. There is no question who got the better deals. Newcastle have surprised everybody this season and they are in the European spots.

A number of Liverpool’s summer signings have struggled and proved they are not good enough to pull on a red shirt. This has resulted in a really poor Premier League campaign for Kenny Dalglish’s side.

Example

Newcastle’s recruitment policy is a good example to any team on how to buy quality players at reasonable prices. The Magpies are in fact a good example to Liverpool especially. A club the size of Liverpool should have a far better scouting network and should be signing far higher quality players.

Sixth

Newcastle was in sixth place and were eight points clear of Liverpool at the start of the day. Liverpool were considered outsiders to get into the top six of the Premier League with the season set to finish. However the Reds have dropped down to eighth in the table after Everton’s 2-0 victory over West Brom.

A defeat for Liverpool in the North East would continue Liverpool’s Premier League struggles. It doesn’t look inconceivable that the Magpies heap more misery on Liverpool on Sunday lunchtime. A draw would probably be good enough to cement the Geordies in the top six of the Premier League.

Atrocious

Liverpool’s form in the Premier League in recent months has been atrocious. The Reds have suffered five defeats in their last six Premier League games, their only victory coming against an under strength Everton side in the Merseyside derby.

The recent run of results has lead to questions about the future of Kenny Dalglish as Liverpool boss. The Scot is a club legend but it hasn’t stopped him being criticised by his own supporters. Despite their cup success this season Liverpool fans are still not happy with their team.

Expectations

Expectations are always high in the red half of Merseyside because of the clubs history and tradition. Unfortunately Liverpool are currently not able to compete with the best teams in the top flight but expectations still remain high.

This season has to be considered a transitional period. The Liverpool fans have to realise that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that the team were in a terrible mess when Dalglish returned. I have to admit I’m not the Scot’s biggest fan but he has changed the atmosphere at around the club.

Newcastle came into this season with very low expectations and that has helped the club to be the surprise package of the season. Newcastle fans had a bit of a reality check when the club was relegated into the Championship and as a result their expectation levels were lowered.

A top half finish in the Premier League would probably been considered a success at the start of the season but they have gone one step further and got themselves amongst the top six. Boss Alan Pardew deserves a lot of credit for the teams success.

He wasn’t a popular appointment when he arrived on Tyneside but he really has brought a stability to the club that had been missing in previous years.

Draw

I think tomorrows game has a lot more significance to Liverpool than Newcastle. The Reds need to get a result to restore their pride and gain some momentum ahead of their crunch FA Cup semi-final with local rivals Everton, in two weeks time. There is encouragement for the Reds though as they have a good record on Tyneside.

Newcastle are strong at home though and could just nick this one. I don’t however think that the Magpies would be too disappointed with a draw and I believe that’s the most likely outcome of this clash.

Can Liverpool catch Newcastle and seal sixth place in the Premier League?

Sat 31 March, 2012
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