IT is difficult to talk about Newcastle United’s clash with Liverpool without mentioning one South American who won’t be playing.
Toon club captain Fabricio Coloccini is still a week away from returning to first-team action following his self-inflicted back injury in February.
Yes, I know, a poor attempt at humour.
It was simply the best I could come up with on a Friday tea-time after a tiring week.
Can Newcastle produce anything better tomorrow in the absence of Liverpool vampire Luis Suarez?
The Uruguayan striker’s bite will certainly be missing from the visiting forward line for all the right reasons.
But likely replacement Daniel Sturridge has scored at St James’s Park on his last two visits with Bolton Wanderers and Chelsea.
Steven Gerrard, while undoubtedly not the player of yore, can also usually be mistrusted to hammer one in from an obscene distance.
Mind, the last time he did that he ended up – wrongly as it turned out – in a police cell after he was arrested the same night on suspicion of assault.
With the Professional Footballers’ Association annual dinner to attend on Sunday, hopefully he will take things a little easy on the pitch tomorrow.
There is also another possibility.
That Newcastle might actually play well for once and Liverpool surrender just like they have already this season at the likes of Stoke City, Southampton and, whisper it if you are in their fans’ earshot tomorrow, Oldham Athletic.
The Magpies certainly owe their own supporters a decent home performance after their limp display against Sunderland a fortnight ago.
Ironically, who did Newcastle play and beat in their first match at St James’s Park after the neighbours’ last victory on Tyneside some 176 – okay then, 13 – years ago?
Liverpool, no less.
A good omen or mere straw clutching?
Keep your fingers crossed and crucifixes at the ready to help ensure the former.
– GAVIN LEDWITH