Perhaps Alan Pardew will be an invisible manager. He wasn't needed last Saturday as the Lads were out to prove that they could win at home - something they had only done twice this season. Led by stellar performances by goalkeeper Tim Krul, defender Jose Enrique, and midfielder Joey Barton, Newcastle defeated an inconsistent Liverpool 3-1.
Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton played a fearless 90 minutes of football.
After scoring a crucial early first goal (15 minutes in), Newcastle gave-up an inexcusable equalizer early in the second half, when defender Sol Campbell never turned to face the attackers. He had his back to the ball, and took himself out of the play. Newcastle then had to rely on its thin defense and young backup keeper, as Liverpool mounted a series of attacks. But it all came crashing down for Liverpool as Newcastle woke-up offensively and scored two goals in ten minutes.
Newcastle defender Sol Campbell, left, never turned to look at Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt, right, until it was too late.
And the game winning goal was old school Newcastle. A throw from Tim Krul ended up in the back of Liverpool's net after being touched by three Newcastle players, the last of which was Barton, who came out of nowhere to redirect Andy Carrol's shot on target.
And these crucial three points mean just one thing: Newcastle, unofficially, is safe from relegation. The team needs just four more wins or 12 more points to assure safety. Newcastle should have all of those points by the end of January. Then the organization can start working on a team building strategy for next season.
But this victory at home was the third very special game Newcastle has played this season. The Geordie faithful were part of Saturday's story. The sellout crowd first displayed loud fury over the termination of Chris Hughton, followed by roars of approval for each of the three goals scored, followed by a solid display of unity and loyalty in the closing minutes. The crowd reflected the feelings of all Newcastle fans, which is quite an intense, mixed bag at the moment.
The new boss, Alan Pardew, is not to blame for the termination of Chris Hughton. He will be accepted by the players and fans, with the inherent knowledge that he probably won't stay for the duration of his five year contract. The reason is because there is is renewed pressure for Mike Ashley to either sell the club to an Arab billionare or give-up control and allow Newcastle United to be a publically owned corporation. In the meantime, the fans and the players can move forward and focus on the football, now that their primary objective for the season is within reach.