Jamie Carragher has praised Eddie Howe’s Newcastle for their ‘intensity’, a trait formerly associated with his beloved Liverpool.
The Magpies secured a dramatic 2-1 win against Nottingham Forest on Friday as Aleksander Isak’s stoppage time penalty boosted their hopes of playing Champions League football. They are in a battle with Liverpool to finish in the top four and although they are only fifth behind Tottenham, Newcastle are now five points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side with 12 Premier League games remaining.
Although they had to come from behind to secure their second successive win before the international break, it was a hugely satisfying night for Howe and co, who have impressed Liverpool legend Carragher all season. “What really impresses me is their actual running ability,” the former Reds defender told Sky Sports after the game.
“Every time I look at them, it feels like they’ve outsmarted the opponent. I don’t even know what the stats are, but I just looked at midfield tonight. It was like a man-to-man marking system of Forest, but every time A [Newcastle] midfielder ran, it was just the last try [from Forest]try to put them back.
“They couldn’t really handle them and every time I watch Newcastle it feels like you’re watching a very intense team. But also with the ball they play football very quickly, they move quickly and the intensity around them… I like to watch it.”
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The intensity that Carragher speaks of was once an essential part of watching a Liverpool game, but now Klopp’s men struggle to pin down teams the way Newcastle have become adept. Take Wednesday’s limp 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid – meaning the Reds were dumped out of the Champions League 6-2 on aggregate – they were lethargic for long periods when it mattered most.
After a shock 3-0 defeat to Brighton in January, Klopp urged his side to go back to basics. “We have to be more compact. The field seems too big when we defend,” the German complained. “You have to go back to basics and you can take steps from there.
(Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)
“We have to do some things a little differently and some things the same. All success in football starts with solid defense and that’s what we have to do again.”
As for Newcastle, they are confident in guiding Liverpool and Tottenham to fourth. Isak, who also scored the visitors’ equalizer at the City Ground on Friday, confirmed: “We believe and know that we are in control and have a good chance.
“We have to keep taking it game by game and try to win. It is important that we went into this break with a good feeling with two wins from two games.”
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