Ayoze Perez is looking to fire Newcastle United out of the relegation zone – and save boss Steve McClaren’s job.
Perez netted the only goal of the game against Liverpool at St James’s Park last season.
The second-from-bottom Tynesiders desperately need a Premier League victory when Liverpool visit again tomorrow, after back-to-back Premier League defeats.
But they will face a team which has been revitalised by new coach Jurgen Klopp, hitting six goals in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup rout of Southampton.
Perez’s strike against Liverpool was only his second goal for Newcastle – and the forwardis looking for a repeat performance tomorrow (4pm kick-off).
“I have good memories from the game last season,” said Perez. “It was my second goal in a row. It was an important win.
“We are working hard to try and turn the season around and try to get a win. It would be really nice if I could repeat that moment from last year.”
Perez’s seven goals last season kept the club in the division. And there is pressure on the 22-year-old, signed from Tenerife last year, to add to his three-goal tally this term.
“As a striker, it is my job to score goals,” said Perez. “I always try to help the team. If I can score, the team is going to be closer to winning. If I can score goals, it is much better.”
Perez feels he is learning from this season’s adversity.
“It is part of the learning process,” he said. “You have to live through different situations as a footballer. You have to stay strong when there are bad moments. But it is all part of your education. I have learned many things since I have been in England.”
Boss McClaren says it’s WRONG to blame Fabricio Coloccini for Newcastle’s failings – as he needs 11 captains on the pitch.
The Argentinian defender has come in for heavy criticism this season given the an apparent lack of leadership in his struggling team.
McClaren said: “One thing we’ve also stressed is that you have to talk, encourage and cajole. That is not just the captain’s job – it is everybody’s.
“It is something everybody can do. We must talk and encourage. It keeps concentration and focus. When you go quiet, you lose that confidence, concentration and focus, which is what has been happening.”
McClaren feels Coloccini still has the “experience, and belief and confidence” to lead his team away from trouble.
Yet he is contemplating changes to both his system and starting XI. However, an injury to the Mike Williamson, recalled from a loan at Wolves, has limited his options.
“What we have talked about a lot is we have conceded 30 goals in 14 games, and that’s not good enough,” added McClaren, who switched to 3-5-2 during last week’s loss at Palace.