Shay Given
By Gary Oliver

SHAY Given believes Newcastle United can use Liverpool as their inspiration as they seek to climb the Premiership table over the busy Christmas period.

The Magpies travel to Anfield to face the in-form Reds on Boxing Day, but first must travel to London's East End to tackle a buoyant West Ham side at Upton Park.

Liverpool, currently competing in the FIFA Club World Championship, are on an amazing run of eleven consecutive clean sheets in all competitions. Not surprisingly, Rafael Benitez's team have climbed to third in the Premiership as a result.

After a relatively slow start to their domestic campaign, the Reds have certainly built up some momentum, and Given now wants Newcastle to use last weekend's spirited victory over Arsenal as a springboard for their own push up the table.

He told nufc.co.uk: "Everybody was happy after the Arsenal game and hopefully we can get a few more results like that over the Christmas programme.

"Arsenal was a huge game and the win gave everyone a massive lift. It was just what we needed.

"But now we have to back that up at West Ham with another three points. It won't be easy, but if we can play like we did against Arsenal every week then I don't think there will be any complaints from the manager, the fans or even the players as we all put a good shift in and deserved the victory.

"It's a busy time coming up and we know we have to pick up points.

"If you look at Liverpool, then it doesn't seem that long ago that people were saying they weren't doing very good. But they have put together a great run of victories and climbed right up the table.

"We've got to try and do that. We need to get a run of victories going ourselves and to get back up into the top six."

Saturday's trip to Upton Park will see Given doubtless hoping for a repeat of his first visit as a Newcastle player at the start of the 1997-98 term, when he turned in an outstanding display to help the Magpies to a 1-0 win.

The Irish goalkeeper has been in fantastic form all season, and heads to West Ham with seven clean sheets in 16 Premiership games so far this term. His best performance for United was 14 shut-outs in 38 games over the 2002-03 campaign.