JAMAAL LASCELLES believes he wouldn’t have deserved a suspension for Newcastle United’s relegation tussle with Southampton this weekend – and he is determined to make the most of being available.

Referee Graham Scott came under fire from a number of quarters after his decision not to send the Magpies captain off deep into stoppage-time at Anfield on Saturday.

Lascelles, the last defender, appeared to trip Mohamed Salah on the edge of the area as he raced through on goal but Scott decided not to blow his whistle and his assistant kept his flag down too.

Had the centre-back been sent off then he would have been suspended for the visit of Southampton, and the decision has drawn criticism from pundits such as Tim Sherwood, who suggested the Saints would be raging.

Lascelles said: "It looked like it was a penalty, but I touched the ball and it was outside of the box so it wasn't.

"Obviously the initial reaction from everybody, and probably why the referee stood on the spot, was because they thought it wasn't a penalty.

"It did look like a penalty, but I've watched it back and I do get a slight touch on the ball, so it was outside the box anyway. The referee's made the right decision.”

Manager Rafael Benitez has already indicated that he will be instructing his players to attack against Southampton and then Huddersfield on March 31; two totally different challenges to facing Liverpool.

Lascelles said: "We knew it was going to be tough going to Anfield. We stuck to our gameplan, but unfortunately they opened us up and scored their first.

"At half-time we thought we'd come in, refresh and listen to the manager, who told us to stay in the game as long as possible and try to put more pressure on them at the end.

“But then they scored again, and up against a team like this it becomes really difficult because they have world-class players.

“Credit to the boys, they kept running right through until the end, they put in a shift and we'll look at what we did wrong and how we can correct it this week. We'll try to take the positives too and go again against Southampton.”

Newcastle are organised under Benitez and they sit just above the relegation zone. There are only two points separating them from the bottom three, but restricting Liverpool’s front three – Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane – to just three shots on target bodes well, according to Lascelles.

The Newcastle skipper said: “They're probably up there with the best front threes in Europe. We played against them up at St James' and we managed to get a good result then - and that was with Coutinho at the time.

"I don't think we should be scared of anyone; we beat Man United the other week, and it's just about whoever turns up on the day in football. Liverpool were the better team, but we will beat good teams in future.

"All them boys, they've all got different attributes. Salah likes to run, he's pretty smart. They're all world-class players, and I thought during the first 40 minutes we did well against them. But then he scored and it's hard to come back against this sort of team.”