Yohan Cabaye believes stopping Steven Gerrard is the key to beating Liverpool on Sunday afternoon as Newcastle travel to Anfield for their Premier League clash.
The French midfielder thinks his “formidable” Liverpool counterpart presents a huge problem with his range of passing and shooting ability, and must be stopped if the Magpies are to take the points.
However, Cabaye’s boss Alan Pardew feels Liverpool should themselves be worried about the tenacious 26-year-old, who has been in fine form since his move from Lille to Tyneside.
“Gerrard is a formidable player. I don’t want to disrespect the other players but, for me, he is the key player,” Cabaye told reporters.
“[Gerrard’s] still excellent – his passing is very good. He can win the game for his team with his delivery or his finishing.
“He is the sort of quality player you can’t take your eye off for a second.”
Liverpool have endured a difficult start to the 2012-13 campaign, sitting in 13th position with just 10 points from nine games – but Gerrard’s form for England against France in Euro 2012 has provided an early warning for Cabaye.
“The France manager, Laurent Blanc, told us that Gerrard was the best player and we had to look after him. But he set up the goal for Joleon Lescott with a typical Gerrard delivery,” he said of Gerrard’s assist against Les Bleus.
Despite the challenges lying ahead, Cabaye is relishing the prospect of battling against one of the Premier League’s all-time greats: “To play against Gerrard and the other big players was the main reason I came here.
“The other reason was that the Premier League is the best league.”
Meanwhile, Cayabe’s manager Pardew has praised his midfielder as “the best” he has worked with in that position, and warned Liverpool they should fear the Frenchman.
“Steven Gerrard may worry Yohan. But Liverpool will also worry about Yohan. Great players affect games and Yohan is a great player in my opinion,” Pardew told reporters.
“I’ve had Michael Carrick, Javier Mascherano, Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan. I’ve had very good players in his position but he’s the best.”