Christian Atsu dropped as Liverpool thump Newcastle on Boxing day

Published on: 27 December 2018

Christian Atsu was left out of Newcastle United squad that faced Liverpool in the English Premier League matchday 19 on Boxing Day as they were humiliated at Anfield.

The Ghana international was missing from the starting XI as well as on the bench after four consecutive starts for The Magpies - his best run of what has been a frustrating season at St. James Park - as Rafael Benitez's side were thumped 4-0 with goals coming from Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Fabinho.

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

Atsu had a poor start to the season, 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 inspiring performance saw him maintained by the former Liverpool and Chelsea gaffer 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 on a four-year deal in the summer following an initial loan spell from Chelsea.

The former Porto winger will hope to be recalled to the squad ahead of their clash with Watford on Saturday.