McClaren wary of in-form Liverpool

Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren has admitted his players will have to be at their best to have any chance of getting a positive result against Liverpool on Sunday.

The Magpies boss is under intense pressure following a woeful start to the Premier League campaign, with the Tynesiders currently second from bottom in the standings on 10 points.

Liverpool, meanwhile, head into Sunday's encounter off the back of a 6-1 victory over Southampton in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals, a result that marked a fourth straight win in all competitions.

Having seen his side suffer a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Alan Pardew's Newcastle last time out, McClaren is all too aware that another heavy defeat would be a further blow to his side's already fragile confidence.

"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," McClaren said.

"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."