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Atsu absent as Liverpool trash Newcastle

Wed, 26 Dec 2018 Source: goal.com

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Ghana international Christian Atsu was conspicuously missing as Newcastle United faced Liverpool in the English Premier League on Wednesday.

After four consecutive starts for The Magpies - his best run of what has been a frustrating season at St. James Park - the winger was nowhere in the starting XI or on the bench as Rafael Benitez's outfit slumped to a 4-0 away defeat at Anfield.

Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Fabinho were The Reds' scorers on the day.

With the development coming four days after he was heavily criticised by fans for an uninspiring performance in the goalless draw with Fulham, it is uncertain if his absence is a result of a tactical decision or an injury.

Atsu started the season on a slow note, making the first XI on just one occasion in Newcastle's opening 14 league games.

After a series of substitute appearances, he was handed his second start in the matchday 15 clash with Everton on December 5.

An encouraging performance saw him maintained by Benitez for the following three games against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Huddersfield Town, and Fulham.

Owing to his poor start to the season, Atsu was heavily reported for a Newcastle exit at the end of the season. His seeming recent renaissance has, however, somewhat changed the narrative.

The 26-year-old joined The Magpies, who next play Watford on Saturday, on a permanent deal in 2017 following an initial loan spell from Chelsea.

Source: goal.com
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