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Howe urges Magpies to bring their 'A-game' to Anfield

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe hopes his side have learned their lessons from Sunday’s defeat at Leicester City – and has challenged his side to bring their 'A-game' to Anfield as they look to topple in-form Liverpool on Thursday night (8pm kick-off).

United were beaten 4-0 at the King Power Stadium last weekend, just over a week after Callum Wilson's solitary strike against Burnley secured their first victory of the campaign at St. James' Park.

The Magpies now face a buoyant Liverpool, who have won their last seven games in all competitions and currently sit just one point off the top of the Premier League table.

Head coach Howe sees the contest as an "opportunity" for his side – but admits they will have to turn in a solid defensive display if they are to bring anything back from Merseyside.

"It's a big challenge for us but one that we're going to look forward to," he said. "Liverpool are in outstanding form, their attacking players are certainly linking really well at the moment, but I think we have to learn lessons from the Leicester game.

"(It was) a game where we came under minimal pressure in terms of having to absorb a huge amount of Leicester ball around our box, but we still conceded at key moments in the game. We were very unfortunate to concede the first one, as I said after the game, but certainly having a solid backline and a solid defensive shape is going to be key in this match.

"We need to get our organisation to the very highest level, because if we don't Liverpool will find a hole in that. But I believe, the other way, we have players that can hurt them – certainly on transitions I think we are a real threat, so we'll have our gameplan and we'll go there ready to perform."

On the threat posed by Jurgen Klopp's men – who Newcastle held to a 1-1 draw in the same fixture last term – Howe added: "I would describe it as a great opportunity to face the best teams in the land, to see where we are, to see how much we can impose ourselves on them, and I think that's how we have to look at it.

"These are fantastic occasions. We'll take the first one and concentrate on that, and that's going to be Liverpool.

"Anfield on a night game will be a great atmosphere, a brilliant occasion, but we have to bring our A-game. We need every player to perform above their levels to have a chance of getting a positive result."

With a number of fixtures in the English football pyramid having been affected by Covid in recent weeks, Howe has reported no further illness concerns in his squad, with routine testing set to take place on Wednesday.

There is one fresh injury absentee, though, with Federico Fernández set to miss out with a thigh problem – although the Magpies boss delivered some encouraging news on the fitness of another of his defenders.

"We have Paul Dummett out long-term – he's making good progress, so we're hopeful of getting him back at some stage soon, although he's not trained with the group yet," he said.

"We've lost Federico Fernández due to an injury – we're not sure as to the extent of that injury yet but he'll certainly miss this game and probably the majority of the games over the festive period, I think."

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Eddie Howe's pre-Liverpool media briefing in full

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