Liverpool v Newcastle: Magpies will face 'team of the season' regardless of if Liverpool win the title, says Alan Pardew
Liverpool need Manchester City to slip-up against West Ham if they are to have any chance of the title, but Pardew admits they've been brilliant this season
Saturday 10 May 2014
Alan Pardew is convinced Newcastle will face the team of the season when they play Liverpool regardless whether they lift the Barclays Premier League title or not on Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers' men head into the final game of the campaign with their destiny no longer in their own hands after losing at home to Chelsea and then squandering a 3-0 lead in remarkable fashion against Crystal Palace eight days later.
But no matter what unfolds as the campaign draws to a close, Pardew insists the men from Anfield deserve all the plaudits which have come their way.
He said: "They have been brilliant. They have been the team of the season, probably, regardless of whether they win it or not.
"It's a tough game for us because at home, they have been awesome.
"They have got real pace in the team and in the modern game, that kills you.
"You look at Bayern Munich - it's real pace everywhere. Real Madrid - the top teams, you have got to have that pace.
"It's something that as a manager, you long for and hopefully, we can improve a little bit on in our team."
Key to Liverpool's success has been their SAS strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
Pardew has huge admiration for Uruguay international Suarez, who was last month named the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year.
He said: "You don't win an award like that from your fellow professionals unless you deserve it. He has been outstanding.
"He elevates Liverpool to another level, there's no doubt about that. I think Brendan would agree with that."
Newcastle will run out at Anfield at least having ended a damaging run of six successive league defeats by beating Cardiff 3-0 at St James' Park last week, although amid an atmosphere which left Pardew in little doubt as to his current standing on Tyneside.
His most vociferous critics were far from placated by a result which at least ensured the club will finish in the top half of the table, and he knows he has a major job on his hands to persuade some supporters that he remains the right man for the job.
The 52-year-old said: "We desperately want to win and in terms of the game, it's going to be a great atmosphere, for sure, because Brendan Rodgers has done an unbelievable job.
"Moving four or five positions at the top of the league is the hardest job that there is in football, and for me, he has got a great chance of being Manager of the Year, and rightly so - and he could still win the title.
"That's his format. For me, it's about a performance that will make our fans at least believe that we have got some good players here still and that we just need a couple more to boost it.
"I have got to be careful what numbers I use because it always gets washed away, but we know that we need more players."
How many players he will be able to sign and in what price bracket - and indeed, whether or not he will be remain in the post to reap the rewards of a summer recruitment drive - will become clearer when Pardew sits down with owner Mike Ashley in the immediate aftermath of a difficult season.
Targets have been identified - the Magpies have been credited with having interest in Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and out-of-contract Sunderland counterpart Jack Colback - although the manager admits the wish-list is changing all the time.
He said: "It's a movable feast, to a degree, because players become available and also unavailable that you think are available. They sign new contracts or they sign elsewhere.
"But we are very much focussed on covering areas that we feel need strengthening. I would like to think that we can take up the technical quality of the team."
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