NEWCASTLE United’s bid for Europe will get another lift against Liverpool, with Cheik Tiote and Ryan Taylor set to return.
The pair sat out yesterday’s 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
Tiote has missed Newcastle’s last two games with a hamstring problem, while Taylor, a boyhood Liverpool fan, has been sidelined for three matches with a niggling calf injury.
However, United manager Alan Pardew expects to have both available for Sunday’s home game against Kenny Dalglish’s team, though captain Fabricio Coloccini is unlikely to be involved.
“I think Cheik and Ryan will be fine,” Pardew told the Gazette.
However, the positive news on Tiote and Taylor is tempered by the hamstring injury suffered by Coloccini at The Hawthorns.
The 30-year-old was substituted at half-time as a precaution, and the problem will be scanned tomorrow.
And Pardew – who tried and failed to sign a defender in January – admits centre-half is the one position where he couldn’t afford to suffer an injury, with Steven Taylor having been ruled out for the season back in December.
“Coloccini’s the one to worry about,” said Pardew.
“I don’t think he’s going to make next Sunday against Liverpool. We have to really hope that it isn’t a bad hamstring pull.
“Centre-back is the position that’s the worry. We’ve known all year we were vulnerable there.
“To lose Steven Taylor was disappointing, and to lose Coloccini now is tough.”
Should Coloccini fail to prove his fitness, James Perch will partner Mike Williamson in the centre of defence.
“We’re really going to have to lean on the big fella (Mike) Williamson, who had one of his best games,” said Pardew.
“There aren’t too many options. If we can get Coloccini back, it’ll really boost us as well.”
Meanwhile, the West Brom result took United beyond the 1,000-point mark in the Premier League.