Coloccini in fitness battle

Last Updated: Tue, 15 Oct 2013 11:13

Newcastle skipper Fabricio Coloccini is a major doubt for Saturday's clash with Liverpool after withdrawing from the Argentina squad.

The 31-year-old defender is understood to be struggling with a thigh injury ahead of a game in which the Magpies will be intent on avenging last season's 6-0 home defeat by the Merseysiders.

An Argentina Football Association statement said: "The coaching staff have released Fabricio Coloccini because of a muscle injury."

Coloccini has been a central figure at St James' Park since emerging from the misery of his first season on Tyneside, which ended in relegation, and Pardew's desperation to retain his services when he asked to leave in January are an indication of his worth.

He could prove key to Newcastle's hopes of attempting to shackle Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, while the manager will also be casting an anxious glance to next weekend when the Magpies make the short trip to Sunderland.

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