NEWCASTLE have their own answer to Luis Suarez – Hatem Ben Arfa.
Alan Pardew’s side take on Liverpool – and Suarez – at Anfield on Sunday.
Magpies boss Pardew rates Suarez highly, and stopping him adding to his six league strikes is arguably the biggest challenge facing his team on Merseyside.
If Suarez doesn’t score, then Liverpool – three points behind 10th-placed Newcastle in the Premier League – struggle to find the net.
“He is an outstanding talent – there’s no doubt about that,” said Pardew.
“I think you have to see how many chances he creates, and how many things he does in a game. You could do a highlights show for him after every game.”
Ben Arfa, though, is a match-winner just like Suarez.
And Liverpool will be as concerned about stopping Ben Arfa as the Tynesiders – without an Anfield league win since 1994 – are about shutting down Suarez.
“I’ve been talking to Hatem about trying to have the same impact that Luis is having,” added Pardew. “Hatem almost did on Sunday (against West Brom).
“You could have put him in that category. We’re looking at our own assets, and we want them to worry about us.”
H Danny Simpson’s Newcastle United future won’t be resolved until the New Year.
The defender is out of contract next summer, and it is understood that there are no plans to restart talks over a new deal between now and January’s transfer window.
Simpson’s long-term future could well lie away from St James’s Park.
Newcastle tried and failed to sign Lille’s Mathieu Debuchy in the summer, and the Magpies could return with another offer for the 27-year-old, a close friend of United midfielder Yohan Cabaye, in the New Year.
In the meantime, Simpson remains first-choice right-back.
A club source said: “Danny will have to wait and see what happens in the window.
“The club has most players on long-term contracts, and Danny’s the exception to that.”
Protracted negotiations over a new long-term deal for Simpson – who joined Newcastle from Manchester United in the promotion season of 2009/10 – broke down late last year.