Newcastle V Liverpool at St James' Park : Match Preview
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Pardew: We won't repeat mistakes
Alan Pardew has promised that Newcastle will not allow themselves to be caught out again by the demands of a gruelling season.
The Magpies head into the Barclays Premier League clash with Liverpool sitting just six points clear of the relegation zone, with the rigours of a European campaign and a catalogue of injuries having helped to ruin their chances of challenging for a second successive top-five finish.
However, there is also an acknowledgement on Tyneside that they got it wrong last summer when they decided not to strengthen the squad substantially, adding only midfielder Vurnon Anita to the senior pool in the belief that their youngsters would come to the fore this time around.
It was an error the Magpies attempted to address in January when they belatedly invested #26million in Mathieu Debuchy, Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran, and it remains to be seen whether or not they are made to pay for their earlier misjudgment.
However, Pardew insists that lessons have been learned.
He said: "I don't think we have shied away from that with the Europa League, that we were short of one or two - two or three players, actually - and it was compounded by injuries.
"Therefore, next year I don't see that scenario happening again at this football club.
"You learn from those mistakes, you have to. That's part of the process of managing a big club.
"This is only our third year back in the Premier League, so you can't say we have been here for 10 years and we have got it all nailed down. We haven't.
"But we will certainly next year be making sure that we have as fully fit a squad as we can, and that the squad is big enough to cope with 38 league games and the two cup competitions that we will be in."
There has been better news for Pardew on the injury front this week with playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa closer to full match fitness and Cheick Tiote back after a hamstring problem, and skipper Fabricio Coloccini's return to full training in recent days represents a further boost.
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Daniel Sturridge has the potential to be one of Europe's top strikers and is more than capable of filling the void left by Luis Suarez's lengthy ban.
With the Uruguay international likely to be suspended until late September at the earliest after deciding not to appeal his 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last weekend there is a huge hole up front.
Suarez has scored 30 goals this campaign, 23 in the Premier League, and that will take some replacing during the early stages of next season.
Sturridge has scored six in 12 appearances since arriving from Chelsea in January and Rodgers insists there is more to come from the 23-year-old.
He gave an indication of the influence he can have on a match last weekend when he came off the bench for the second half against his former club and immediately created a clear chance for captain Steven Gerrard before scoring himself and providing the assist for Suarez's added-time equaliser.
"He was outstanding when he came on," said Rodgers.
"In the first half of the game we were too slow in our play, our movements weren't as dynamic as what they've been in a lot of games.
"The intensity wasn't quite what it normally would have been but in the second half when he came on he gave us a real threat - his pace and power were outstanding.
"He scored a goal, which was a great finish, and could have had two or three more.
"He's fitted into the football club really well. He missed a bit of training last week but if we can keep him fit and keep him out on the training field, he's got the potential to be a top European striker.
"That's hopefully something he can fulfil here at the club."
Sturridge will start up front against Newcastle but Rodgers was keen not to heap all the goalscoring burden on the striker.
"It's the team's responsibility," he said.
"I said to the players the other day, whatever happens with Luis there's also a plan going forward for the team - we have to keep progressing.
"That's about the team showing their solidarity on the field and making sure that one player doesn't feel that burden.
"It's really about the team's responsibility now to push on."
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