Steve Bruce may have one of the most underwhelming win ratio’s of all time as a manager (38%), but when it comes to playing Liverpool, it seems the Geordie manager has surprisingly come up with a knack for not losing.
Newcastle travel to Anfield this weekend to face a Liverpool side who are currently unbeaten, and are looking to win their fifth straight game in a row.
With 12 goals scored and only three conceded for The Reds thus far, most experts would predict that lowly Newcastle will do well not to get hammered.
Under Bruce the Toon seem to have lost some of the impenetrable structure offered by Rafa Benitez, as well as seeing little improvement in attack.
The Toon’s tally of three goals so far is actually no better than what it was at this same point last season.
Bruce’s own managerial record against ‘The Big Six’ sides is also frighteningly poor, a CV which includes no wins against Man United in 22 matches, two wins in 24 against Chelsea and two wins in 28 versus Arsenal.
It’s fair to say, Newcastle aren’t expected to get anything from the game.
But when you delve deeper into the statistics, it appears that Bruce does not have the same failings when managing sides against Liverpool.
In fact, he’s been near unbeatable against them in the last few years…
Bruce’s bizzare and remarkable record vs. Liverpool
Stretching back to 2002, Steve Bruce has managed four different sides against The Reds in the Premier League, and in 21 matches has lost just six times.
In fact in his last 17 PL matches against Liverpool his sides have lost just four, recording five wins and eight draws.
A remarkable six of these eight draws came away from home at Anfield, as well as an away win for Birmingham in 2004.
This might not seem very impressive, but when you consider that the teams he managed through these results where Birmingham, Sunderland, Wigan and Hull, they’re nothing to be sniffed at.
All of these teams have since been demoted to the Championship and beyond, proving Bruce did well to secure any points out of these fixtures.
In Bruce’s last season in the PL in 2014/15 he even went undefeated against The Reds, his Hull side securing a win and a draw.
It’s clear from these results that Bruce can have some sort of confidence going into this weekend’s fixture.
He’s done the unlikely before, so why not again with Newcastle?
The Klopp factor
Ah yes, that’s right… Jurgen Klopp.
There’s no doubt that despite Bruce’s great record against Liverpool, he never had to contend with anything quite like a Klopp side.
Klopp has already managed to match and in some cases outdo the heights of Benitez-era Liverpool, particularly where actual football is concerned.
The relentless pressure and attacking threat Liverpool offer is unrivalled, and their defensive additions last year saw them fail to lose a single PL match last season.
They are a different beast and despite what’s come before it’s uncertain how Bruce will handle them.
If the Toon’s victory against Spurs is anything to go by, there will be a lot of backs to the wall defending.
However that performance showed that even Bruce’s Newcastle are capable of a huge upset.
With Liverpool undefeated at Anfield since April 2017 it’s unlikely, but given his history there, Bruce will be daring to dream this weekend.