THEIR last performance prompted jeers from the Anfield crowd. Now Stewart Downing is hoping for a more positive reaction from Liverpool FC as they look to make amends this weekend.
Defeat at home to struggling Wigan Athletic last Saturday was bad enough for the paying public; worse, though, was the insipid, uninspired manner in which Kenny Dalglish’s side slumped to the 2-1 reverse.
Cue a week of finger-pointing and head-scratching as Liverpool closed ranks to begin plotting a path towards Premier League redemption.
That road begins at St James’ Park tomorrow afternoon, when they make the tricky trip to face a Newcastle United side that have surpassed all expectations this season.
And Downing, who was among those to be targeted by the disenchanted Anfield crowd last week, admits a repeat of that Wigan debacle will not be tolerated.
“I think it's very important there's a reaction,” says the winger. “The last game was very disappointing to lose at Anfield.
“This is a big game for us and the good thing about football is there is always a game a couple of days away to put it right – and that is what we're looking to do at Newcastle.
“The mood in training has been good. We had a chat when we came in and said we would not dwell on the Wigan result.
“We have to be right for Newcastle because it's going to be a tough game for us, but one I think we can win.
“The message to the fans is we never give up, we'll always keep going and we're trying to give them the best finish we can to the end of the season.”
Liverpool’s 3-1 home win against Newcastle over the Christmas period was a rare high point of an Anfield league campaign that, with just five wins in 15 games, is the club’s worst at this stage of a top-flight season since they were relegated in 1954.
Since then, Dalglish’s men have won only two of 11 Premier League games with only Wovlerhampton Wanderers having taken fewer points during 2012.
Shorn of a host of key players during the last 18 months – including Andy Carroll and Jose Enrique – the Magpies have overachieved under Alan Pardew and, while only one place separates tomorrow’s opponents, Liverpool are a massive eight points adrift of their sixth-placed rivals.
Downing, though, is confident Dalglish’s men can capitalise on Newcastle’s injury concerns.
“We just need to play our football – we proved that when we played them at Anfield,” he says. “They were on a good run of form then, but we ended up beating them 3-1 and played them off the park.
“We've got to play our own game and go at them. They've got a few injuries, and we're starting to get players back fit and the squad is looking strong again. I'm confident we can go there and win.
“If we keep playing our game, with a little bit more luck we'll be fine.”