Ben Arfa is Newcastle’s version of Suarez

TOON TALENT ... Newcastle United's Hatem Ben Arfa.
TOON TALENT ... Newcastle United's Hatem Ben Arfa.

NEWCASTLE United have their own answer to Luis Suarez – Hatem Ben Arfa.

Alan Pardew’s side take on Liverpool – and Suarez – at Anfield on Sunday.

The controversial striker has again been in the headlines for the wrong reasons this season.

But the 25-year-old, Brendan Rodgers’s only fit front man, has also been among the goals.

And only Newcastle’s Demba Ba and Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie – both on seven goals – have scored more than Suarez in the Premier League this season.

Pardew rates Suarez highly, and stopping him adding to his six league strikes is arguably the biggest challenge facing his team on Merseyside.

If Suarez doesn’t score, then Liverpool – three points behind 10th-placed Newcastle in the Premier League – struggle to find the net.

“He is an outstanding talent – there’s no doubt about that,” said Pardew.

“I think you have to see how many chances he creates, and how many things he does in a game. You could do a highlights show for him after every game.”

In Pardew’s line-up will be Ben Arfa, a match-winner just like Suarez.

And Liverpool will be as concerned about stopping Ben Arfa as United – who beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 on Sunday thanks to an injury-time goal from substitute Papiss Demba Cisse – are about shutting down Suarez.

“I’ve been talking to Hatem about trying to have the same impact that Luis is having,” added Pardew. “Hatem almost did on Sunday.

“You could have put him in that category. We’re looking at our own assets, and we want them to worry about us.”

Newcastle, after a promising start, struggled to impose themselves on West Brom, but the spirit and determination on show heartened Pardew ahead of United’s visit to Anfield, where the club haven’t won the league since 1994.

“You still have to do a lot of things right to get a win,” he said.

“Regardless of being a bit fortunate, you still have to defend well, and there are a lot of things we did well.

“Sometimes things go unnoticed, but our passing and movement let us down a little bit.”

Twitter: @milesstarforth