Peter Lovenkrands hopes for Andy Carroll off-day

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PETER Lovenkrands was by Andy Carroll’s side when he plundered many of his goals for Newcastle United, writes MILES STARFORTH.

And, understandably, the striker hopes Carroll has an off-day if he lines up against his old club at Anfield on Sunday.

Carroll missed Liverpool’s 5-0 win over Birmingham last Saturday with a knee injury, and is a doubt for the visit of Alan Pardew’s team.

The 22-year-old, signed from Newcastle for £35million in January, opened his account earlier in this month with a two-goal blast against Manchester City.

And Lovenkrands, so often Carroll’s strike partner in Newcastle’s Championship-winning campaign, is understandably wary of the England forward.

“Andy will be a handful to go up against if he plays – we knew that when he was in our team,” Lovenkrands said.

“He was a fantastic asset for us – he’s so strong. He’s shown that again at Liverpool and with England. He’s a great player, and I really wish him the best, but I just hope he doesn’t score against us!

“It’ll be good to see him again.”

While Carroll and his Liverpool team-mates are looking to break into the Premier League’s top five after their renaissance under Kenny Dalglish, 10th-placed Newcastle are determined to consolidate their own position in the division.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Blackpool all but guaranteed Newcastle another season of Premier League football, the result taking them to 41 points.

“Something will have to go fantastically wrong for us not to stay up,” said Lovenkrands, who netted his sixth goal of the season at Bloomfield Road.

“And if we could stay in the top 10 having come up from the Championship, it would be a fantastic achievement.

“The team and the boys could be very proud of that.

“It shows what good a group we have. There have been ups and downs, but everybody has those.

“We’re in the top 10, and I don’t think anybody could have predicted that. We’ve done fantastically to keep away from the relegation scrap. We want to keep this distance for as long as possible.”

However, the odds are against United at Anfield.

Newcastle haven’t won a Premier League game at the stadium since 1994, yet, having held leaders Manchester United to a 0-0 draw last week, Lovenkrands says there’s a quiet confidence in the dressing room.

“It’s going to be like the Man U game – nobody’s going to expect us to get a result at Liverpool,” Lovenkrands added.

“Hopefully, we can go there and surprise a few people by getting a point or two.

“They have a lot to play for, so they’re going to be up for it, but as a team we don’t want to slack off. We’re up for any game.”

H Newcastle Reserves’ Northumberland Senior Cup final against Blyth Spartans will be played at St James’s Park on May 11 (7pm).