Alexander Isak hit a clinical double to give Newcastle United a 2-1 victory at Nottingham Forest and believes the Magpies can soar after the international break.

The Swedish striker tucked away a late penalty to earn the win at the City Ground, moving Newcastle to 47 points from 26 games.

They sit one point behind fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand and are five points better off than Liverpool.

Several of their players will disperse to represent their countries over the next fortnight, before the battle for Premier League places resumes.

Emmanuel Dennis put Forest ahead in Friday's contest with a high-quality chip in the 26th minute, but Newcastle drew level moments before half-time as Isak volleyed in Joe Willock's cross.

Newcastle's Elliot Anderson had a goal disallowed midway through the second half, with team-mate Sean Longstaff ruled to have been offside in the build-up.

It looked set to finish level, but a rash handball from Moussa Niakhate gave Newcastle a stoppage-time penalty and Isak made no mistake with a confident strike from the spot.

Asked about the scrap for Champions League places, Isak said on Sky Sports: "We feel confident. We spoke about how it's very important to go into this break with a good feeling.

"Hopefully this will give us energy for when we come back."

He felt Newcastle "were not on it" in the first half and spoke in the dressing room about the need to step up their level.

"We came out in the second half and changed our game and we played really well and we got rewarded as well," Isak added.

Isak celebrated with the thousands of Newcastle fans who made the trip and said: "Those late winners are the best goals to score."

It was Newcastle's first league win of the season after conceding the opening goal in a game, although at one point head coach Eddie Howe was concerned it might be "one of those nights".

When it was explained to Howe that the comeback feat was a first for his team in the competition this term, he said: "I think that's in part because we've been so good this season that we've led in a lot of games, but it's nice to be able to have that in your game."

Forest, in a relegation battle, have now lost 15 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, with only Bournemouth (17) and Leicester City (19) having lost more.

Howe was baffled by the decision to deny 20-year-old midfielder Anderson what would have been his first senior goal for Newcastle.

"I couldn't believe it at the time," Howe said. "I'd need to be sat down and explained the rules on that one. I'm disappointed for Elliot because it would have been a massive moment in his career."

Julen Lopetegui claimed Wolves were denied a "very, very clear penalty" by referee Andy Madley in Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United.

Wolves were furious in January when they had a late goal disallowed for offside against Liverpool in the FA Cup at Anfield, and they remain convinced that was an injustice.

Madley was also the man in the middle that time, with Wolves denied what would almost certainly have been a winning goal as the game finished 2-2, with Liverpool going on to edge the replay 1-0 at Molineux.

That incident has not been forgotten by Lopetegui, and he was aghast at Wolves being denied a spot-kick early on against Newcastle at St James' Park.

Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope took a poor touch and gave away the ball to Wolves striker Raul Jimenez, before seeming to bundle the Mexican to the floor.

Wolves wanted a penalty and a red card but got neither, and Lopetegui said afterwards: "It's true that, for me, it was a very, very clear penalty for us. We are very unlucky with the referee. This is a pity for us.

"It doesn't matter what I think. The more important thing is that this is true that we have suffered a big mistake a lot of matches ago at Liverpool, and for me [Sunday's incident] was a penalty, but the VAR can't help in this case the referee. We were very unlucky with the decision. We didn't have a penalty since I arrived here."

Alexander Isak headed Newcastle ahead in the first half, but Hwang Hee-chan brought Wolves level in the 70th minute.

The visitors sat deep and were punished by a fine finish from Miguel Almiron nine minutes later.

Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe told Sky Sports he felt there would have been no justification in awarding Wolves a penalty for the clash between Pope and Jimenez, which came when the game was goalless.

Howe said: "I didn't think it was a penalty at the time. You might say I was biassed, but I didn't. I thought it was Jimenez going down before the contact was made, that was my initial assessment."

Substitute Almiron delighted Howe with his contribution off the bench, having been a regular starter up to now.

"Not that he necessarily needed to give a response, it was a case of us just trying to freshen him up," Howe said. "It's an outstanding season that he's had, he's contributed in lots of different ways, and you see the work rate he gives every week. He made a massive impact, and I'm delighted for him."

Howe was glad to halt a five-game winless run, with the Magpies jumping above Liverpool into fifth place.

"I just think it reignites us," he said. "Hopefully it re-sparks us into action and restores confidence levels to where they should be."

Eddie Howe knows Newcastle United still have work to do to catch Manchester City but believes there is no longer a "real gap" between the teams.

Newcastle were beaten 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, a 14th consecutive Premier League defeat at a stadium where they have never won in the top flight.

But Howe's side – who drew 3-3 with City at home – had their chances, most notably through Callum Wilson and Joelinton, who both miscued in front of goal.

In the eyes of the Newcastle coach, it was a far cry from their visit last May, when City ran out 5-0 winners.

City also beat Newcastle 4-0 at St James' Park less than a month into Howe's tenure in December 2021.

"There are things for us to reflect on, minimal chances for them today," Howe said after goals from Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva defeated his side.

"I thought we kept them relatively quiet. They're a world-class team, so they're always going to have chances, but I thought we minimised their threat.

"The general performances have been very good [in defeats to Liverpool, Manchester United and City].

"When we came here last year, the result was difficult and you could see the real gap between the teams. I don't think that's been there this season.

"There is still growth for us to get closer to Manchester City."

Eddie Howe had no issue with Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley promising the club would win the Champions League, although he hopes they will have patience with him along the way.

Newcastle played their first major final in 24 years on Sunday but were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the EFL Cup showpiece at Wembley.

Staveley's response was a strong one, inspired by the experience of the defeat as she told talkSPORT: "We will win the Carabao Cup, we will win the FA Cup, we will win the Champions League, and we will win the Premier League."

Those comments were relayed to Howe on Friday ahead of a trip to Manchester City, where Newcastle will attempt to get their Premier League campaign back on track.

"I love Amanda's positivity, I love her outlook," Howe said. "I've got no issue with the statements.

"All I'd say is, from my perspective, there's no time limit on that. If we set targets that are maybe too short-term, that can have a negative effect and build external pressure that the players don't need.

"We want the players to play free and not really think too much about the consequences. It's my job to take the pressure off them, so that's what I'll try to do."

Newcastle were in a relegation battle last season but now sit fifth even after a four-match winless run in the top flight, with Champions League qualification still in their hands.

"The leap is harder, and time is something that is a very small commodity, really, when you're sat in my shoes here," Howe added.

"Lowering expectation and controlling that environment is so important.

"I don't think we created a problem for ourselves, but the speed with which the team has improved has been so quick that I think people naturally assume that will continue. If it was that easy... it's not that easy.

"So, to continue on a forward trajectory is harder and harder. The better you get, the harder it is to get better.

"We have big challenges ahead, and we need to be smart at what we do. My work will be judged on that evolution of the team."

Eddie Howe could not hide his disappointment after Newcastle United were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the EFL Cup final, but the Magpies boss was still "proud" of his players.

Two first-half goals at Wembley took the game away from Newcastle, with Casemiro heading in a Luke Shaw free-kick before Sven Botman deflected Marcus Rashford's shot over stand-in goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Newcastle had been hoping to win their first trophy since the 1969 Fairs Cup, but had to look on as they lost to the same team and by the same score they had suffered in their last major final, the 1999 FA Cup.

"Naturally, I'm disappointed," Howe said at his post-match press conference. "I'm pleased with how we played. We were really good between both boxes but the penalty area is where games are won and lost. We weren't clinical enough.

"I've got no regrets with how we set up. We wanted to be brave as we have been all season; [we wanted to] have a go at Manchester United. It was a strange game, not much goalmouth action.

"I can't fault the players but the game was decided in big moments. We didn't defend the free-kick well enough."

Howe was pleased with the performance of his third-choice goalkeeper Karius, who came in with Nick Pope suspended and Martin Dubravka cup-tied.

"Karius did really well," he said about the German, who made seven saves. "His demeanour and distribution were good… he can be really proud of his efforts today."

Howe confirmed that Bruno Guimaraes, who came off with 12 minutes remaining, had twisted his ankle, adding that he did not think it was serious but would await further news.

Newcastle have gone four games without a win in all competitions (D2 L2), but Howe believes his team is playing well and is just missing the final finish, having scored just twice across those four games.

"I think the team's playing well, just maybe not as free-scoring as we were," he said. "It is the hardest challenge for any team. We had a lot of moments today where we could have opened them up and that's something we'll need to improve."

There was an impressive showing from Newcastle's fans, who made plenty of noise and supported their team throughout at Wembley.

"We felt nothing but support and love [from the fans]," Howe added. "It's so important that the players can play in a supportive environment. The scenes when we drove in [to the stadium] were exceptional, probably my words don't do it justice."

Casemiro claimed victory in the battle of the Brazilian midfielders as Manchester United won their sixth EFL Cup with a 2-0 success against Newcastle United on Sunday.

On the way to Wembley, it felt like Newcastle fans significantly outnumbered United's, seemingly four out of every five people donning black and white striped shirts.

That feeling continued in the stadium, with almost every Newcastle fan in their seat waiting for kick-off with about 45 minutes to go, their black and white flags flying in anticipation of a momentous occasion, while big gaps remained in the United end just 10 minutes prior to the start, though it was full by kick-off.

On a cold day in London, fans of both teams hoped to be warmed by some samba magic, with United and Newcastle having two Brazilians each in the middle of the park.

United manager Erik ten Hag opted for Fred and Casemiro, while Magpies boss Eddie Howe went with Joelinton and Bruno Guimaraes, with the latter back from suspension in time for the final.


Newcastle had not won any of the six games that Guimaraes had missed this season heading into Sunday's clash, and there was a renewed sense of optimism from the Geordie fans with their key man back.

However, a sloppy foul conceded by Guimaraes just after the half-hour mark gave United a chance to put a free-kick from the left, which Luke Shaw whipped in expertly for Casemiro to nod in.

Newcastle had actually started the game better, with only some poor execution in the final third preventing them from taking the lead, but their ruthless opponents struck first.

Casemiro became just the third Brazilian to score in an EFL Cup final after both Philippe Coutinho and Fernandinho did so in 2016 when Liverpool faced Manchester City.

It was also Casemiro's fourth goal in his last 12 games, one more than he had scored across his previous 89 matches.

The Magpies were caught napping again as Wout Weghorst was allowed to dribble to the edge of the penalty area before releasing Marcus Rashford, whose shot deflected off Sven Botman and over the helpless Loris Karius to make it 2-0.

Newcastle's third-choice goalkeeper was making his first competitive appearance in 728 days, having not played for anyone since his final outing of his loan to Bundesliga side Union Berlin on February 28, 2021.

Selected following Nick Pope's red card against Karius' former team Liverpool, the German could not have done much about either goal, and was able to show off some of his ability before the break when he denied Weghorst from making it 3-0 by tipping the Dutch striker's shot from 20 yards over the crossbar.

Newcastle tried to fight back in the second half, with Howe bringing Alexander Isak on for Sean Longstaff, leaving Joelinton and Guimaraes as the sole two in midfield.

Fred very much played a supporting role to the dominant Casemiro, and was replaced by Marcel Sabitzer with just over 20 minutes remaining.

With 12 minutes to go, Guimaraes made way, noticeably limping after a couple of knocks during the game. The former Lyon man certainly did not disgrace himself, completing 45 of his 49 passes (91.8 per cent) and winning back possession 10 times.

Joelinton tried to revert to his former ways as a striker, having more than twice as many shots as any other Newcastle player (five), but it was ultimately in vain.

It was the experience of Casemiro that told on the big occasion, with the 31-year-old having won so many finals with Real Madrid – including five Champions League titles.


In truth, it was far from a vintage United performance, with Newcastle having 61 per cent possession and 14 shots inside the opposition box to their opponents' five, while they also had 37 touches in the opposing box compared to the Red Devils' 17 at the other end.

Ten Hag's men did enough to win the game, though, and that is all that counts in a final.

It was so near yet so far for Newcastle, who were competing in their first major final since they lost to United by the same score at the old Wembley in the 1999 FA Cup final.

They remain without a trophy of any calibre since the 1969 Fairs Cup, but the stark improvement shown under Howe this season suggests they should not have to wait many more years.

As for United, they brought an end to six years in the trophy wilderness, and had man of the match Casemiro largely to thank.

Had they managed to sign Frenkie de Jong or Adrien Rabiot prior to opting for the Brazilian last year, who knows what could have happened?

They won't spend a moment wondering about that now, with the Red Devils basking in the glow of a cup win once again.

Manchester United won their first trophy under Erik ten Hag as Newcastle United were beaten 2-0 in Sunday's EFL Cup final at Wembley.

Casemiro's opener came somewhat against the run of play as United started slowly, but the Red Devils assumed control before the break as Marcus Rashford's shot deflected in off the unfortunate Sven Botman.

Newcastle faded following a positive start as United kept them at arm's length, ensuring there was to be no end to the Magpies' 68-year wait for a major domestic trophy.

For United, a first trophy since 2017 validates Ten Hag's impact at Old Trafford, and with the Old Trafford outfit still competing in the Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup, there could be more to come. 

David de Gea was tested at his near post by Allan Saint-Maximin as Newcastle started brightly, but United soon took charge with two goals in the space of six minutes. 

The first came when Casemiro nodded Luke Shaw's free-kick into the bottom-right corner after 33 minutes, with a VAR check adjudging the Brazilian to have remained onside. 

There was a hint of fortune about United's second as Rashford took Wout Weghorst's pass in his stride and saw a shot deflect off Botman, only for the ball to spin beyond stand-in Magpies goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Karius prevented further damage with a flying save from Weghorst's strike before the break, when Newcastle introduced club-record signing Alexander Isak in search of a response.

Joelinton saw efforts blocked by Lisandro Martinez and Aaron Wan-Bissaka as Newcastle threw men forward, before De Gea palmed away a dangerous cut-back from Kieran Trippier.

United went close to a third as first Rashford and then Bruno Fernandes forced Karius into smart stops, but it mattered little as the Red Devils stood firm.

What does it mean? Landmark moment for resurgent Red Devils

Ten Hag's revival of United's fortunes has been nothing short of spectacular, but the importance of capping their impressive displays with a piece of major silverware was not lost on anyone at Old Trafford.

United had not won a trophy since claiming an EFL Cup and Europa League double under Jose Mourinho in 2017. Having passed a stern test on Sunday, the Red Devils will hope they can at least replicate the achievements of that season with three trophies still to play for.

While Newcastle will fancy their chances of returning to this stage soon, there was to be no fairytale ending this time around as their record losing streak at Wembley stretched to nine games.

Casemiro the man for the big moment

While Casemiro has been credited with having a transformative effect on United's defensive efforts this term, the Brazil international put the Red Devils on the path to glory with a decisive contribution at the other end.

Casemiro has scored four goals in his last 12 games in all competitions, one more than he managed across his previous 89 matches at club level, while he is just the third Brazilian to net in an EFL Cup final – after both Philippe Coutinho and Fernandinho were on target in the 2016 showpiece.

Bad luck for Botman

Newcastle's Botman became just the fourth player to score an own goal in an EFL Cup final, following in the footsteps of Roger Kenyon (1977), Gordon Chisholm (1985) and Steven Gerrard (2005).

In truth, there was little the defender could have done to keep Rashford's strike out. The England forward was lively throughout at Wembley, creating a joint-high two chances for United as well as forcing Botman's own goal.

What's next?

United will bid to seal an FA Cup quarter-final place when they host West Ham on Wednesday. Newcastle, meanwhile, must turn their attentions back to the Premier League when they visit Manchester City on Saturday.

Kieran Tripper does not understand why people are "kicking off" at Newcastle United's perceived time-wasting after Erik ten Hag called it "annoying".

The Manchester United manager made the comment ahead of Sunday's EFL Cup final meeting with Newcastle at Wembley, saying thee Magpies are an "annoying team to play against".

Eddie Howe's men have the ball in play for just 52.3 per cent of a match, the second lowest in the Premier League this season behind Leeds United.

But Howe's tactics are working as Newcastle are competing for European qualification while also having the chance to end a 54-year major trophy drought against the Red Devils.

Trippier is confused over the criticism his team is receiving, telling reporters: "I love it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

"But I have experienced it a lot in Spain. It's about knowing when to slow a game down. If the opposition are having more of the ball and are on top, of course you've got to kill the game. You're not going to take a quick throw-in and say, 'Carry on'. You have to manage the game.

"Some teams are not happy with us this season, but it's about being clever in that moment, about using your experience. Opposition fans are not going to like it either, because it's against their team. But as a neutral, I think it's good to see. I don't see why everyone's kicking off about it, it's good!"

Asked whether Newcastle plan to use the same tactics at Wembley, Trippier replied: "Of course we will.

"You've got to have that mentality. If you want to win, if you want to be successful, you have to be cute in every single game.

"You look at teams like Real Madrid and how successful they have been, and they've had players like Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, and they were the best at it. If you want to be successful, you have to manage the game well, and at the right time."

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe wants his players to grow accustomed to playing for trophies in finals ahead of Sunday's EFL Cup decider against Manchester United.

The Magpies have not featured in a domestic final for 24 years, while they have not won a major trophy since lifting the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969.

Expectations have grown around Newcastle since the change of ownership in October 2021 enabling greater financial expenditure on the squad, with the side currently contending for a Champions League spot, sitting fifth in the Premier League.

Since Howe's appointment in November 2021, the Magpies improved from relegation battlers to finishing 11th in the 2021-22 campaign, with their 2022-23 league position and cup final appearance seen as another step forward which the boss wants to become the norm.

"We want the players to become accustomed to these days and expect them, not look at this final as a one-off and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Howe told reporters.

"In our position, that wouldn't be a healthy way to look at this game. We want to be very controlled in our emotions, use the energy of the crowd, but also have high expectations.

"This is the future we all want and we know only hard work and staying true to our principles will earn us the right to achieve it. We hope this is the start of an era where we compete for honours on a more regular basis."

Howe was hopeful his side could use the final as a springboard to bigger and better things but insisted that defeat would not be devastating for the club.

"Winning would help us accelerate the process, for sure, but it isn't the be-all and end-all for what lies ahead," he said.

"Regardless, the club is in a good place and can grow from here. Of course, we want to put pressure on ourselves to achieve. There is no part of me that's going to Wembley just to enjoy the day."

Eddie Howe has no doubt Loris Karius is in confident mood ahead of an unexpected Newcastle United debut in the EFL Cup final.

An improbable series of events have led to Karius being in line to make his Newcastle bow against Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday.

First-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope was sent off against Liverpool last weekend, while Martin Dubravka is cup-tied having spent the first half of the season on loan at Man United. He will only get a winners' medal if his Newcastle team-mates lose.

Karl Darlow, who started Newcastle's cup campaign in goal, was also allowed to leave on loan, meaning Karius and Mark Gillespie – the fourth and fifth-choice options – will be thrust into the spotlight.

It is Newcastle's first major cup final since the 1999 FA Cup final, a loss to Man United, but Karius has rather more recent and similarly painful memories of such an occasion.

He was at fault for two goals as Liverpool lost the 2018 Champions League final to Real Madrid, albeit having suffered a concussion. He never played for Liverpool again.

But Newcastle head coach Howe said of that match: "I've never really discussed that at any length with him [Karius].

"We've all got stuff that's happened in our careers and our histories that you learn from, and I think he's no different in that respect.

"Since day one since he's come here – he started where he hadn't had a lot of work before joining us – he's trained with our goalkeeper coaches in a really, really good way.

"His general performances in training have improved as he's spent more time with us, and I think he's in a good place and he's ready to play."

Asked how talks had gone with Karius since his sudden promotion, Howe added: "Those conversations are the type of conversations I have with him on a regular basis.

"How is he? How does he feel his training's going? Are we giving him everything he needs to be the best that he can be?

"He's a very likeable, laidback character. I've got no doubts on his confidence levels. He seems very relaxed and excited – as Mark is – about what lies ahead."

Pope has kept the most clean sheets in both the Premier League (12) and EFL Cup (four) this season, but Howe himself is also still confident.

"I think we have to be very positive about our situation, about the game," he said. "Yes, it's a blow to lose Nick, but we still believe in the team and the group that we have."

Loris Karius is set for an improbable Newcastle United debut in the EFL Cup final, but he has the backing of former manager Jurgen Klopp, who says this opportunity "is what he was working for".

Karius appears likely to start for Newcastle against Manchester United at Wembley next week in the club's first major final in 24 years.

The former Liverpool goalkeeper is yet to appear for the Magpies and has only made the bench eight times in all competitions since signing back in September.

But Nick Pope was sent off against Liverpool on Saturday and deputy Martin Dubravka is cup-tied after spending the first half of the season out on loan – at opponents Man United.

Karl Darlow was loaned out in January, leaving only Karius and Mark Gillespie.

Karius was released by Liverpool at the end of last season, having failed to make Klopp's first-team squad. His final appearance for the Reds was in the 2018 Champions League final when he sustained a concussion before making two costly errors.

But Karius has Klopp's backing now as the Liverpool boss said: "You can rely on him, no doubt about that.

"He's a great goalie. That's why Newcastle signed him. Of course, it's unlucky for Nick Pope in that moment, really unlucky."

Asked if this was a chance for Karius to move on from the final loss to Real Madrid, Klopp replied: "Absolutely. That is what he was working for, definitely, all the time."

Newcastle coach Eddie Howe did not commit to Karius playing, saying his team would "see what our options are", but he also outlined the German's "experience of the big games", having kept six clean sheets in Liverpool's run to that final.

"That was the reason for taking his profile really," Howe said. "He has the experience of the big games. I've got no doubt or issue over his ability to do that. He's continued to improve and impress in training."

Newcastle are fourth in the Premier League but have not won since reaching the EFL Cup final, and their coach is relieved there will be no more distractions now.

"We're pleased the final's here. I didn't want the wait to be any longer," Howe said. "I want to get the game, prepare well for the game and try to win the game.

"As much as you don't want to talk about it, it's been the talk of everybody. I wouldn't criticise the players in terms of focusing on the final ahead of the Premier League, but the talk of it has been there.

"I'm pleased to get the game and play and prepare this week. I think we're ready for it."

Eddie Howe has detailed how he "absolutely detests" losing matches – something Newcastle United have not done in the Premier League since August's trip to Liverpool.

But ahead of the reverse fixture at St James' Park on Saturday, Howe's focus is on winning, rather than preserving a record unbeaten run.

Newcastle have suffered only a sole defeat in the league this season – the fewest in the division – and that loss came in particularly painful circumstances as Liverpool's Fabio Carvalho scored a 98th-minute winner at Anfield.

Since then, the Magpies are unbeaten in 17 in the league, a sequence that has tied their best ever streak, set in the Championship in 2010.

Newcastle have also advanced to the EFL Cup final, but they suffered an upset in the FA Cup, losing to Sheffield Wednesday to remind Howe just how much he hates that feeling.

Asked if the previous Liverpool match had aided his team, the Newcastle boss replied: "Possibly it may have helped us in some strange way. You go through that experience and you're desperate not to feel that again.

"Certainly the Sheffield Wednesday game was another example.

"I don't need any reminding of how painful losing is – I did most of that in my playing career, and I hated that feeling. I tried to do everything I could to not feel that going into the next game.

"As a manager, it's probably 10 times worse, maybe 100 times worse. I hated it as a player, and I absolutely detest it as a manager.

"You're preparing and working to try to stay away from that feeling for as long as possible."

The length of that unbeaten run in the Premier League would have kept Howe happy then, but Newcastle have drawn eight of those 17 matches, ending remote hopes of a title challenge and putting them under pressure in the Champions League chase.

While another draw against Liverpool – their sixth in seven and fourth in a row – would see Howe's players make history with the outright record, he only wants victory.

"To go on that kind of unbeaten run in this league is so tough, because it only takes one bad 10 minutes and that record is gone," Howe said, before adding: "I don't want the players to become focused on it, though.

"That can be the danger with unbeaten runs sometimes – it becomes about staying unbeaten, rather than winning the game.

"That's not in my mindset at all. Tomorrow, we go out to try to win, and all our focus has to be on that."

"Is there any history between Newcastle and Liverpool that I don't know about? The atmosphere was like there was something that happened in the past."

Jurgen Klopp's question was understandable at the end of an enthralling 3-2 Liverpool win at St James' Park back in 2019.

A raucous Tyneside atmosphere had been ramped up further by controversy on the pitch and fights off it, with the presence of Liverpool fans in the Newcastle United sections – hoping to see their side take another step towards Premier League glory – playing its part.

Of course, when Newcastle were going for the title in the 1990s, Liverpool tried and succeeded to spoil the party with a pair of epic 4-3 Anfield wins, even if that meant helping rivals Manchester United to twice take top spot.

Newcastle's class of 2019 had similarly given their all – but not because it was Liverpool, with Rafael Benitez's men and their supporters relieved not to be relegated rather than worrying about settling scores.

For Newcastle, there is rather more riding on the outcome of Liverpool's visit this weekend for another Saturday night match. This one, Klopp might note, will have a little more history.

Liverpool are the only team to have beaten Newcastle in the Premier League this season, and that reverse fixture, back in August, was another hot-tempered affair.

A marginal offside call denied Alexander Isak a second goal, before Liverpool rallied to win with a 98th-minute winner having been repeatedly frustrated by the Newcastle time-wasting that led to the game dragging on so long.

It felt like a big moment for Liverpool as they went ahead of Newcastle with just their second victory in five matches at the start of the campaign. Meanwhile, the visiting players were booed off the pitch.

Heading into the return match, however, Liverpool are back below Newcastle. In fact, they are nine points below this weekend's hosts – the largest margin in the Magpies' favour ahead of a fixture between the two sides in the Premier League era. This is the first time since 1995-96, with that Stan Collymore winner, that Newcastle have led Liverpool going into both home and away meetings.

As Liverpool's season went on a downward spiral almost from the moment Fabio Carvalho broke Geordie hearts with his best Collymore impression, Newcastle – then missing a number of key men – were emboldened by the furious reaction of the Anfield crowd.

"My ideal is that we're booed off every week when we go to away grounds, because you don't want to be popular," Eddie Howe said afterwards ahead of a 17-match unbeaten league run, Newcastle's joint-longest in their history.

"We're here to win, we're here to compete," Howe added, "and we'll do whatever it takes to try to win."

Except Newcastle's undefeated streak has included only nine wins, topped up by eight draws – including five in their past six and three in a row.

Progress to the EFL Cup final has maintained Newcastle's momentum, but frustration has just started to fester since the semi-final, which was followed by stalemates against strugglers West Ham and Bournemouth that saw the Magpies fall to fourth.

While Newcastle may have a nine-point cushion to Liverpool, they equally could be level on points with the Reds by the time they play again in the league if Saturday's result goes against them.

Manchester City, winners at Arsenal in midweek, have shown how quickly such a gap can vanish.

The four-match winning run Liverpool would require for such a rapid turnaround – including Monday's defeat of Everton – seemed highly unlikely at the start of the week, but such a streak has proven very much within their capabilities in the past.

Liverpool won four in a row in the Premier League as recently as December, their 12th sequence of four or more consecutive victories under Klopp. Those include 17- and 18-match winning runs.

That is the threat Newcastle must attempt to guard against – along with challenges from Tottenham, Brighton and Hove Albion and the rest of the chasing pack.

As for Arsenal on Wednesday, a draw might well suit Howe's men. The form book suggests that result is likely, too, but an atmosphere akin to that of four years ago will not allow Newcastle to play conservatively.

They have the final next, then a trip to City. Liverpool face Real Madrid on Tuesday and host Manchester United at the start of next month.

A season-defining stretch for both teams might itself be defined first by what happens at St James' Park.

Eddie Howe is concerned about the injury sustained by Joe Willock in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Bournemouth, where Newcastle United also saw Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin forced off.

Almiron fired home at the end of the first half to cancel out Marcos Senesi's opener, but fourth-place Newcastle could not find a winner as Howe was held on his return to his former club.

Newcastle are now unbeaten in a club record-equalling 17 league games, although five of their past six matches have finished all square, while only Reims (12) have drawn more times across Europe's top five leagues.

While Newcastle have stuttered somewhat by their previous high standards, of more concern to Howe will be the fitness of three key players ahead of the EFL Cup final against Manchester United on February 26.

Almiron went off with 10 minutes left after appearing to suffer a wrist injury, while Saint-Maximin's game was ended after what looked to be an innocuous collision.

Howe does not believe either injury is too serious, but Willock's hamstring issue is more worrying ahead of that Wembley showdown in two weeks' time.

"Miggy [Almiron] and Max, I don't think they're too bad," Howe said at his post-match press conference. "Miggy, I think, got stamped on his hand, so we think he'll be okay. 

"Maxi was just a knock. The concern from today is Joe Willock, who has gone off with a hamstring problem."

Willock has featured in all 22 of Newcastle's league games this season, starting all but two of those, and has two goals and two assists to his name.

Senesi's close-range finish marked the first time Newcastle have conceded the opening goal in 15 top-flight games, with the previous occasion also coming against Bournemouth in September.

Almiron's 10th Premier League goal of the season in 22 games – one more than he managed in 110 appearances in his first four seasons in the competition – earned the visitors a point that keeps them ahead of the chasing pack in the race for Champions League football, though Newcastle had Kieran Trippier to thank for a goal-line clearance from Dominic Solanke's flick.

"It's up to us to find solutions but the real positive is we are not losing games," Howe added.

"Despite not winning, we're keeping our points tally moving in the right direction and if you look around league, the league is so tight.

"There are a lot of results that mean the challenge for us is to be as consistent as we can. We're going through a phase where we're creating chances but not scoring and I think that will end, I don't think that can continue."

Eddie Howe has expressed concern for former Newcastle United and Bournemouth winger Christian Atsu amid conflicting reports over the Hatayspor player's welfare after earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria.

More than 21,000 people have died after southern Turkey and northern Syria were struck by earthquakes on Monday.

Atsu, who enjoyed five years with Newcastle after spending six months on loan at Bournemouth under Howe in the 2015-16 season, was reported to be missing in the aftermath of the tremors.

There appeared to be a positive update on Atsu when Hatayspor vice-president Mustafa Ozat said he had been "removed from the wreckage" on Tuesday, but the club remained unable to confirm his whereabouts the following day and said there was no update on Atsu's condition.

Howe had Atsu and his family in his thoughts ahead of Saturday's meeting between the winger's two former clubs, saying: "It's hugely worrying. 

"I really, really enjoyed working with Christian, a great lad, great player. Our thoughts are with him and his family.

"We hope for some good news, we hope he's okay, but we're really concerned for him and his welfare this week.

"It has been difficult because there have been conflicting stories coming out about his whereabouts, so it's been very tough. I can't imagine how his family are feeling.

"But from the bottom of our hearts, we wish him well and hope there's a positive ending."

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