Steve McClaren mindful of Liverpool threat to Newcastle's fragile confidence
Steve McClaren has admitted Newcastle's fragile confidence could be obliterated if they allow Liverpool to slip into top gear on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp's men marched into the Capital One Cup semi-finals with a 6-1 demolition of Southampton on their own pitch in midweek, and head for St James' Park having lost only once in 11 attempts under their new manager and with seven victories in their last eight games in all competitions.
By contrast, the Magpies are in disarray once again after successive defeats in comprehensive fashion by Leicester and Crystal Palace sent them hurtling back into the Barclays Premier League drop zone, and McClaren is only too aware another drubbing by the Reds could shatter whatever confidence his players have managed to regain in the last week.
He said: "That is always a possibility. That's why we have to make sure we are at our best individually.
"It is a game which we know - and the players know - we'd better be at our best in terms of attitude, work-rate and all the nitty-gritty things to keep this Liverpool team at bay, because they are the form team in the Premier League at the moment.
"What we have talked about a lot is, we have conceded 30 goals in 14 game and that's not good enough. We came away from Bournemouth and that was two clean sheets and we thought we might have turned a corner.
"But in the next two, we conceded eight. The frustrating thing about everything is the inconsistency. Consistency, when you haven't got that, is as fragile as confidence."
Liverpool have lost on three of their last six visits to Tyneside, but their two victories during that spell have been handsome, a 5-1 drubbing in December 2008 and a 6-0 blitz in April 2013.