Liverpool vs. Newcastle United: Premier League Clash Features Troubled Clubs
While the matchup between Liverpool and Newcastle United may seem insignificant given their place in the Premier League standings this season, this is the kind of game that can build momentum.
Newcastle is 10th in the EPL standings with 13 points, while Liverpool is 12th with 10 points. They have combined for eight draws and seven losses this season.
Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul said before Sunday's clash, via ESPN:
The next four or five fixtures are coming up and we definitely fancy our chances of getting a few points from them. The lads put in a proper shift against West Brom. We had spoken about out-working teams in the build-up and we need to do that again at Liverpool.
These are exactly the kind of words you would expect from a club trying to get back on top while looking for every opportunity to make strides in a long league season. Krul's words about out-working teams are also significant, given it generally takes a gradual climb for teams like Newcastle and Liverpool to compete with the Manchester Uniteds of the world.
While Newcastle has won just once in its last four EPL matches, it is that 2-1 victory over West Bromwich that is resonating within the club. It is this kind of positive attitude that can lift clubs out of the darkness.
Of course, challenging your club works sometimes, too.
Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones said after the 3-1 loss to Swansea in Capital One Cup play, via the Liverpool Echo:
We are disappointed as we wanted to progress. The feeling we got last season with going to Wembley and lifting the trophy was a fantastic day. It was something we wanted to replicate. But on the night it took us 45 minutes to get going. By then it was too late.
Joe Cole was one of the Liverpool players criticized in the loss on Wednesday. He was lifted from the match after playing subpar football in the first half against Swansea. Manager Brendan Rodgers was hoping to rest Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, but he was forced to put them in during the second half given the club's poor start.
A club can collectively choose to lay down and give up on a season, but it is the clubs who persevere through tough times that ultimately find ways to get back into contention.
While Newcastle and Liverpool currently aren't in the same stratosphere as the leaders of the Premier League, this match will show who is truly serious about improving and who will remain mired in mediocrity.
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