EDDIE HOWE is hoping some additional time on the training ground will help his Newcastle United players turn around their flatlining form.

While the majority of Premier League teams return to action on Saturday after their midweek matches, Newcastle do not head to Anfield to face Liverpool until the night of New Year’s Day.

That means there is a six-day gap between the Magpies’ Boxing Day defeat to Nottingham Forest and their first outing of 2024 on Merseyside, a gap that will feel like an eternity given the packed nature of the club’s schedule throughout December.

For most of the last month, Howe’s squad have either been playing, travelling or recovering, so the opportunity to have three or four back-to-back days at Darsley Park should help.

“We get a chance to return to the training pitch,” said the Newcastle boss, whose side have lost six of their last seven matches in all competitions. “It feels like we haven’t done that for months. Ultimately, I think we need some training-ground time to re-find some of the missing parts in our game.

“It will be nice to spend some time building up to the game and training, most importantly. The difficulty for the players that have played the majority of the minutes in recent weeks is that they just haven't been on the grass.


“In between games, they have been resting and then building up for another game three days later. Possibly, we’ve suffered from not having that training-ground time.”

Newcastle were repeatedly undone on the counter-attack in their Boxing Day loss to Forest, and Howe admits he will have to get the balance of his team right when they take on Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were 2-0 winners at Burnley earlier this week, and have not lost a league game at Anfield since Leeds United were surprise victors in October 2022.

Newcastle cannot be as open as they were on Tuesday afternoon, with Howe accepting his side were uncharacteristically vulnerable as they were beaten by Forest.

“When you look at the level of teams we’ve been playing this season, then that was very unlike us,” he said. “That area of our game has probably been vulnerable for the last two games, hence the negative results that we’ve had. It’s certainly something for us to look at with our balance in midfield.”