ALAN Pardew’s targeting a long-overdue win at Anfield – after a long week on the training field.
Newcastle United travel to Anfield on Sunday looking for their first win at the iconic stadium in almost two decades.
Robert Lee and Andy Cole were on target the last time the club won there in April 1994.
And Newcastle’s record at Anfield makes dismal reading.
However, Pardew, whose preparation for recent Premier League games has been compromised by a Thursday night Europa League tie, is hopeful a full week’s work will pay dividends.
Pardew felt United looked “tired” late in Sunday’s 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion at St James’s Park after their exploits against Club Brugge three days earlier.
After a day’s rest, Pardew’s players were today starting preparations for Liverpool in earnest.
“It’ll be nice to get a week’s work in with the team,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“We need that training time – you can see that in the team.
“I think our fans can forgive us that we didn’t play well because of the workrate we put in last week. We looked very tired.”
Liverpool, undergoing a transition under new manager Brendan Rodgers, have been unconvincing at times this season.
And they go into the game with just one striker – Luis Suarez, who has scored eight goals this season.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul will face Suarez, and Pardew is glad to have the 24-year-old back in his team after a spell on the sidelines with an elbow injury.
Krul returned in the Wear-Tyne derby, where he was only beaten by a Demba Ba own goal. He pulled off two superb saves to deny West Brom striker Romelu Lukaku.
“Fair play to him, because he hadn’t done much training,” said Pardew.
“He’s a class keeper. He stands up big, and they were very important saves. If we’d conceded the first goal, we’d have been in a lot of trouble.”
Pardew, meanwhile, is sweating on the fitness of Ba – who suffered a shin injury against West Brom –ahead of the Liverpool team.
And Sammy Ameobi – whose shot cannoned off Papiss Demba Cisse for Newcastle’s injury-time winner – is pushing for a start, having also impressed against Brugge.
Ameobi came off the bench at the weekend, and gave United a “spark” they had been lacking, according to Pardew.
“Sammy looks to provide a little bit of a spark for us,” he said.
“I was searching for some sort of lift for the team, and I thought he was very positive for us. He tried to create for us.”
n READING boss Brian McDermott could recall Danny Guthrie for his side’s Capital One Cup clash with Arsenal tonight after controversially axing the midfielder at the weekend.
McDermott has denied reports of a bust-up with the former Newcastle player, who was left out of the squad at the weekend, when McDermott’s side drew 3-3 with Fulham.