Newcastle’s Ben Arfa pushing for start against liverpool

Newcastle United's Papiss Cisse celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mate Hatem Ben Arfa (right) during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final match at St James' Park
Newcastle United's Papiss Cisse celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mate Hatem Ben Arfa (right) during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final match at St James' Park

HATEM Ben Arfa’s pushing for a start against Liverpool – after a punishing week on the training pitch.

The forward is playing catch-up with his fitness after his latest lay-off with a hamstring problem.

Ben Arfa has come off the bench in Newcastle’s last three games.

And United manager Alan Pardew – whose side take on Liverpool at home on Saturday – feels he’s close to being fit enough to start a game.

“Every day he’s getting closer,” said Pardew, whose players trained at St James’s Park today.

“He’s worked a lot better this week. We’re hoping he might make more of an impact whether he starts or comes off the bench.”