Newcastle, and Alan Pardew, are off the hot seat. Whatever we think of the manager's work over the last several months (and beyond), that's clearly the narrative after three wins in a row, with the performances improving steadily throughout the streak. Wednesday's win over a far more experienced and talented Manchester City side had the Football Weekly podcast wondering if the 2012 Manager of the Year trophy that Pardew went home to polish had some sort of talismanic effect. I'd wait until Newcastle strings together two good halves in the Premier League before musing about the influence of magical artifacts.
Team we want/team we'll get
Unbelievably, I'm in agreement with Pardew's likely 4-2-3-1 formation. (I'll always prefer Massadio Haïdara to Paul Dummett at left back, but we'll just leave it be this week.) It will be exciting to see Sammy Ameobi and Rolando Aarons work in tandem against a shaky Liverpool defense, and hopefully the two switch flanks from time to time. The center of the park is where it gets interesting, with a few different possibilities in midfield and plenty of question marks up front. Ayoze Pérez seems to thrive off good service, and maybe he and Rémy Cabella will develop some timing via through balls and intricate passing moves. If it comes off, a Newcastle team which didn't seem like it knew there was a goal to shoot at earlier in the season could suddenly become quite dangerous at that end of the field.
How Pardew will screw this up
The manager's cautious approach could prove costly against a team like Liverpool, which dominates possession under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers. Not that I advocate being reckless, but Newcastle should at least be willing to send enough players forward to make its counterattacks worthwhile. It got a bit lucky against Spurs to score twice without needing to commit very many players to the attack. That probably won't happen again.
Predicted Chronicle headline
This is the highest-scoring fixture in the history of the Premier League, for what it's worth. And given these two clubs' defensive records, a 0-0 is highly unlikely. I'll say that Newcastle continues its good form in a relatively exciting 2-2 draw, prompting the paper to go with this on Sunday morning:
Fireworks on the Tyne