Tiote has not been himself for nine months now, trying to stop the flood of yellow cards that saw him suspended for more games than he actually played!
The bite had gone, but so had his confidence.
But his leadership qualities showed against Liverpool, and never mind Steven Gerrard, Tiote was the star in the middle of the park.
The midfielder skippered United in the absence of the injured Fabricio Coloccini.
Pardew opted to hand the captain’s armband to Tiote instead of Yohan Cabaye, who deputised for Coloccini last season.
Alan Pardew: “There were two great captains on show.
“Cheik Tiote, by far, was our best player in my opinion.
“He was brilliant. I was really pleased for him. We need him at that level.
“Losing Colo is like Liverpool losing Gerrard. It’s a huge blow for us. We all know that. The Press was full of how we were going to miss him, and that’s quite right.
“He’s that important – other teams have those important players as well – but Cheik replaced him with all those ingredients that Colo has.
“I thought that might be what we need – playing by example rather than saying too much.
“Cheik played by example and put in a real shift – the Cheik of old.
“If we hadn’t had the incident at the start of the season, Cabaye would have been captain.
“I told him he wasn’t captain. Was he upset? No. He accepted it and played great. I’m pleased for him.
“It was important for Yohan. It was a great, great goal.
“The view from the TV shows it goes to the right then left and dips and goes to the left again.That’s the modern ball.
“But you’ve got to be able to hit the ball with power to get it to do that.
“I remember John (Carver, Pardew’s No2) coming off the pitch before the game saying that’s the best finishing he’s seen at this club for a long, long while.
“Everyone was hitting the ball true.”
Source: Newcastle United Mad