WHEN Alan Pardew thinks of last season, he will remember being awarded manager of the year by both the League Managers' Association and the Premier League's sponsor, Barclays.

Twelve months on and the Newcastle United manager has greater things to worry about than dusting down his silver after leading the club to a fifth place finish and in to Europe.

He will more than likely be given the chance to manage beyond the summer, but before he gets there Newcastle need to survive in the Premier League.

There may not be the prospect of European football dangling in front of him, nor is there a chance to finish a point ahead of a Chelsea team who went on to be crowned Champions League winners days later.

Yet the importance of keeping Newcastle out of the bottom three a year on later is more significant. Pardew needs to conjure up a way of getting his team to secure top-flight football at St James' Park for a further year.

With a five-point cushion to the relegation zone to hold on to, the Newcastle boss remains in a more promising position than the one Roberto Martinez finds himself in with Wigan - even with a game in hand.

But in somehow turning in a worse display against Liverpool than they did in their previous home game against Sunderland, it is simple to opine that it will not be simple for Pardew to deliver.

On the same weekend last season as the 6-0 debacle to Liverpool, Newcastle lost their way in the race for a top four spot by losing comfortably 4-0 at Wigan.

This time the problems run far deeper than an end of season blip, which included three defeats from their last four matches. Across the pitch there are concerns in need of addressing. One win from their last six hardly bodes well for the remaining three games - and beyond.

"Of course I am angry but I have to channel that anger in the right way," said Pardew after trying to dissect what went wrong during a home defeat to Liverpool ranking as the club's joint second worst of all-time.

"The only way I can get that right is next week and make sure I have a team that enters the pitch at West Ham confident that it is going to win and that is a very, very important.

"The start at West Ham is going to be a key part of our game because if we start like we did against Liverpool we are going to find ourselves in a lot of trouble."

From a position of strength last season Pardew has found his second full season in charge an even greater challenge. With the increased number of midweek fixtures qualifying for the Europa League brings, added strain on the squad was always going to be an issue.

Simple defending, however, cannot be excused and they have already conceded more goals than any of their previous campaigns in the Premier League era. After shipping six to Liverpool, Newcastle now have the worst record in the Premier League this season too - even relegated duo Queens Park Rangers and Reading have conceded less.

Saturday's error-strewn display highlighted real problems at the back, suggesting a lack of communication. Whether English speaking Steven Taylor and goalkeeper Rob Elliot found it hard to gauge an understanding with Frenchmen Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Massadio Haidara is unclear, although the gaps between the four of them pointed to silence.

"I do not think the language barrier is a problem," said Pardew. "I think perhaps experience and knowledge of what is needed in a game and different scenarios (is the issue). A lot of those players have never lost 3-0 at home before, never mind six, and I think that showed against Liverpool when we were 3-0 down. Some of our play was naive and disorganised."

Cheik Tiote's performances in front of the back four, when he has been fit, have not been effective either, while Moussa Sissoko now looks more like he should be the central midfielder he was signed as after playing further forward than he would ordinarily have done for Toulouse and France.

And then there is the role of Papiss Cisse. For all he is a goalscorer, he has rarely - with the exception of his Benfica displays - looked the ideal man to lead the line on his own.

The early, albeit temporary, lift Sissoko and the four other new signings in January gave Newcastle led to Pardew claiming Newcastle were safe after defeating Stoke back in March. If only it had been that simple.

And being able to call on the spine of last season's team - Tim Krul, Coloccini, Yohan Cabaye, Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Cisse (or Demba Ba) - just once this time around has created more problems because Newcastle work to a system where their back-up players are not of the same quality as those regarded as 'purples'.

Mike Ashley, the Newcastle owner, was not at St James' Park to witness the humiliation against Liverpool, but he will be at Upton Park on Saturday when Pardew cannot afford a similar mess.