ALAN Pardew has acknowledged the need for Newcastle United to start playing with “intelligence” again as they head to Anfield looking to shake off the spectre of some disjointed Premier League performances.
United take on Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool on the back of their first unbroken week of training of the season, something that Pardew believes could be crucial to rediscovering the rhythm that has been lacking in their domestic displays this campaign.
While Newcastle’s form has been far from disastrous – they are nestled in the top half of the table and have only lost to Chelsea and Manchester United this term – Pardew (pictured below) is fully aware that they have to improve.
He has spoken of the need to send out a “thinking team” to face struggling Liverpool and is particularly keen for his players to start “getting a grip” of games again. He feels that the opposition have controlled too many matches against them this year and wants to see his stars assert themselves.
There may be changes of personnel and system too, with Pardew considering a start for Vurnon Anita – who was understood to be disappointed at being left out of the game against West Brom. Demba Ba, who has not trained this week, may also be involved while Papiss Cissé is set for a recall.
“My selection will count a lot on Demba and whether he is fit or not,” Pardew said.
“But I do feel that we need to get a more thinking team on the pitch and the best thing that has happened to us, apart from the good result, is the fact we have had a week on the training ground where we have actually done some work with the team because we have sorely missed it.
“The rhythm and the passing options are something that we, although getting decent results, have been grappling at.
“Hopefully, we will have a bit more fluidity in our play and cause Liverpool problems.
“It has been tough because last week we went week-to-week almost and had a week’s prep and other teams were playing midweek, which meant we had a slight advantage and we were bringing that home.
“This time, we have the pressures of a big club – midweek Euro fixtures.
“It is nice, don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining, but it is different. We are getting to grips with it.”