Preview: Newcastle v Liverpool (Premier League)

Newcastle v Liverpool
Premier League; Sunday 1st April 2012

Liverpool travel to the north east to face Newcastle United this weekend, looking to get their league form back on track after back-to-back defeats.

Liverpool are eight points behind Newcastle. Anything but a win will make finishing anything higher than seventh highly unlikely.

The EA Sports Player Performance Index provide some interesting stats ahead of the game.

· Newcastle produced a superb attacking display to beat West Brom 3-1 in their last league game

· Two goals from Papiss Cisse and one from the superb Hatem Ben Arfa kept the Magpies within reach of European football next season

· Cisse now has five goals in six appearances since joining the Magpies, and has needed just seventeen shots at goal to score them, meaning 29% of his efforts have found the back of the net

· Ben Arfa has four goals and five assists in eighteen appearances this season

· As well as impressing in attack, young defender James Perch put in a dominant defensive performance making eight clearances in the game, putting him in the top ten for clearances made in an individual game this season

· Newcastle’s form this season has been underpinned by an impressive work rate, which places the Magpies fourth overall in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for distance covered with 1,938 miles

· Jonas Gutierrez ranks third in the individual rankings with 174.91 miles covered this season. Gutierre

· Liverpool’s poor run of league form continued with a 2-1 defeat to Wigan in their last league game

· A goal from Luis Suarez and a first credited assist of the season for Steven Gerrard were not enough to beat a battling Wigan side

· Suarez has seven goals now this season, but has needed 81 shots to get there, meaning just 9% of shots have hit the back of the net, compared to league top scorer Robin van Persie who has hit 26 goals, converting 21% of shots to goals

· Kenny Dalglish has blamed tiredness for Liverpool’s poor recent form, Liverpool have covered 1899 miles so far this season as a team, the tenth highest total in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index

· Charlie Adam has covered the most ground for Liverpool this season with 164.4 miles, ranking him 14th overall in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index

· Jose Enrique has completed 41 dribbles this season, more than any other defender in the league. He has also delivered 74 crosses, the third highest for a defender after Ryan Taylor today’s opponent and Leighton Baines

· Ryan Taylor has also had more shots at goal than any other defender in the league with 40, and the second highest number of crosses with 76

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