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Saturday 03 November 2012

John Scales anticipating Liverpool v Newcastle goalfest

PLTV pundit and former Liverpool defender discusses Tyneside club's 'fascinating' trip to Anfield

  • March 1995: John Scales in action during Liverpool's 2-0 win over Newcastle

  • April 1996: Scales battles with Newcastle winger Faustino Asprilla during the 4-3 classic

  • April 1996: Asprilla gives the Magpies a 3-2 lead in the pulsating clash at Anfield

  • April 1996: Stan Collymore is the hero with a late double to give Liverpool a last-gasp 4-3 win

  • March 1997: Steve McManaman scores in another dramatic 4-3 success against Newcastle

  • December 2004: Patrick Kluivert celebrates after scoring for Newcastle at Anfield

  • December 2005: Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen with Liverpool keeper Jose Reina

  • September 2006: Xabi Alonso celebrates scoring from inside his own half

  • March 2008: Fernando Torres scores in the first of three straight 3-0 home wins

  • May 2011: Andy Carroll hugs former Newcastle United team-mate Kevin Nolan

  • December 2011: Steven Gerrard slots a shot past Tim Krul to seal a 3-0 win

  • December 2011: Gerrard celebrates his goal in the last Anfield meeting between the two

Former Liverpool defender John Scales is convinced the Merseyside club’s home match against Newcastle United on Sunday will produce a flurry of goals in what he is expecting to be "a fascinating, open game".

As a member of the Reds who triumphed 4-3 in 1996 one of the most exciting matches of the Barclays Premier League, Scales knows Liverpool-Newcastle encounters well, and as the two sides prepare meet at Anfield he told of his expectation of another goalfest.

"This is a dynamic, exciting Newcastle team. You look back at the famous players Newcastle had in that famous 4-3 game and the team they have now is no different"
John Scales

"This is a dynamic, exciting Newcastle team," he said. "You look back at the famous players Newcastle had in that famous 4-3 game – [Peter] Beardley, [David] Ginola, [Les] Ferdinand, {Faustino] Asprilla – and it was a great, exciting team. And the team they have now is no different.

Newcastle have not won at Anfield since 1994 courtesy of goals by Rob Lee and Andrew Cole, but Scales fears the Magpies could be in line for a return to form now that key players are back in the line-up.

"Look at Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse; when they both start scoring at the same time that’s going to be frightening," he said. "They are a potent threat up front and they are dangerous in wide areas as well: Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez, Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye is an incredibly well-balanced team."

In Scales' opinion the only reason that Newcastle are not higher than tenth in the Barclays Premier League is because they have been debilitated by injuries and suspensions, but with players slowly returning the former England player believes the Magpies could be about to soar.

"Missing key personnel has been they're undoing this season, when [Fabricio] Coloccini or Tim Krul have been injured or Tiote has been suspended, as he is on Sunday," he said. "They just lack a little depth, but with all their players available you have to say Alan Pardew has done a fantastic job and taken Newcastle on to another level.

"With [Steven] Taylor, Coloccini, [Danny] Simpson and Krul back they'll feel they can start a winning run, and where better place to start than at Liverpool?"

Liverpool showing 'encouraging signs'

Scales says Liverpool have fallen some way beneath the standards the club set for themselves during the 1980s and 1990s but he sees "encouraging signs" from a side striving to adhere to the Brendan Rodgers' possession-based system.

"It wasn’t going to turn around overnight whoever took charge," he said. "People have got to appreciate the scale of the task that Rodgers and the new owners have got. The task is huge there but I see encouraging signs, the positives are Rodgers wants to play a style of football and an ethos where he will give young players the opportunity."

"They're still learning the ethos of Brendan Rodgers, so when it works it works and it gels very well. They can beat Newcastle if they retain that belief in the system"
John Scales

If Anfield is a bogey ground for Pardew's side it has hardly been a fortress for Liverpool either, with last Saturday's victory against Reading their first home success of a Premier League campaign in which they trail Newcastle by two points.

Since then the Reds have succumbed to Swansea City in the Capital One Cup at Anfield, but despite disappointing home results Scales believes Pardew's charges represent the right opposition for Liverpool.

"The pressure on that team to perform in front of the Kop is building as this run of poor form continues," he said. "But Newcastle is a good game for Liverpool because it's not as though they are going to come and be negative and shut up shop.

"They’re going to play a relatively expansive, open game and that suits Liverpool. So Rodgers needs to urge his players to come out on top in their own personal battles and the game-plan will be to link well, move well and produce that cohesive performance we know they’re capable of.

"They're still learning the ethos of Brendan Rodgers, so when it works it works and it gels very well. They can beat Newcastle if they retain that belief in the system.

'Fascinating, open' contest in prospect

"Newcastle will be on the front foot with the aim of starting a winning run, so it's all set up for a fascinating game; one that will be open, one that both teams really need to go for a win. We're in for another dramatic, exciting Liverpool-Newcastle match that has a history and tendency to produce great games."

So is Scales expecting another 4-3? "You never know," he said. "They've got the players. If you take Tiote, who's suspended, out for Newcastle and Lucas [Leiva], who's injured, out for Liverpool, you don't see many players who are going to destroy the game or break up midfield areas. You've got players who are going to break forward, try to get in the box and support the strikers.

"You know Newcastle have got goals in them. I worry that with [Fabio] Borini out Liverpool don't have that firepower, other than [Luis] Suarez, but we know what he's capable of. He scored a hat-trick at Norwich the other week, he scored a couple last weekend and he’s in form.

"So it'll be an open, entertaining, great game. I doubt there will be seven goals, but there may well be three or four."

Recent Liverpool v Newcastle United results

30/12/2011    Liverpool 3 Newcastle United 1   
01/05/2011    Liverpool 3 Newcastle United 0   
03/05/2009    Liverpool 3 Newcastle United 0   
08/03/2008    Liverpool 3 Newcastle United 0   
20/09/2006    Liverpool 2 Newcastle United 0   
26/12/2005    Liverpool 2 Newcastle United 0   
18/12/2004    Liverpool 3 Newcastle United 1   
14/05/2004    Liverpool 1 Newcastle United 1   
01/09/2002    Liverpool 2 Newcastle United 2   
05/03/2002    Liverpool 3 Newcastle United 0   
04/05/2001    Liverpool 3 Newcastle United 0   
24/03/2000    Liverpool 2 Newcastle United 1   
27/12/1998    Liverpool 4 Newcastle United 2   
19/01/1998    Liverpool 1 Newcastle United 0   
09/03/1997    Liverpool 4 Newcastle United 3   
02/04/1996    Liverpool 4 Newcastle United 3   
18/03/1995    Liverpool 2 Newcastle United 0   
15/04/1994    Liverpool 0 Newcastle United 2   

15 Wins
2 Draws
1 Loss

Overall goals
Liverpool: 45
Newcastle United: 16
Difference: Liverpool +29

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Key Points

  • John Scales believes Liverpool-Newcastle will be an 'open, exciting match'
  • Former Reds defender compares Magpies side to 1996 vintage
  • Ex-England defender predicting goals to flow at Anfield on Sunday