In October, after the international break we welcome one of the most famous names in English football and old foe Liverpool to St. James Park. The first visit of The Reds in 1893 ended in a 0-0 draw where incidentally both sides were made up predominantly of Scottish players.
The last time the two sides met of course was that horrific 6-0 drubbing back in April, when a mixture of Alan Pardew’s team selection (which appeared to baffle the players as much as it did the fans) and some kamikaze defending sealed our fate. We have experience happier times against The Kopites in the Premier League, indeed the two meetings previous to last season proved to be key moments in both seasons. Firstly, in April 2012 when a Papiss Cisse double set us off on a short winning streak towards the end of the season which almost catapulted us to a Champions League place, a game which also saw Andy Carroll booked for diving in front of the Leazes End and Jose Enrique forced to play in goal for the remaining 25 minutes. A year previous to that encounter Liverpool were the visitors on a cold December’s evening for Alan Pardew’s first game as manager amidst the controversy and general disagreement surrounding the sacking of Chris Hughton. That day, the players came up trumps and three players who made their Newcastle United reputations under Hughton in Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Andy Carroll scored the goals in a match which arguably was the beginning of the end for Roy Hodgson at The Reds.
The Premier League era has witnessed some great Newcastle – Liverpool games over the years but we can’t ignore the humiliations either, the ones that spring to mind are the 5-1 reverse in December 2008 which is pinpointed as the straw that broke the camel’s back and led to Shay Given handing in a transfer request, a year previously we went down 3-0 with fans turning on Sam Allardyce in a game United couldn’t manage a single shot on target and August 1998 when a young Michael Owen absolutely tore through a poor defence on his way to a hat-trick on the day Ruud Gullit was unveiled to the Toon Army.
Probably the most memorable visit of Liverpool in Premier League times was the first one, however. Andy Cole bagging a hat trick with some slick passing and movement destroying a Liverpool team on the day Newcastle really announced themselves to the top division live on Sky. Other notable matches over the years include a 1-0 win in 1985 over a Liverpool side who had won the European Cup only 3 months previously with George “Rambo” Reilly scoring the goal and fans of the older generation will probably never forget the home debut of Malcolm Macdonald in 1971, ‘Supermac’ going home with the match ball and sparking his five year love affair with the number 9 shirt.