Newcastle have been resurgent since the turn of the year, and welcome Jurgen Klopp’s quadruple chasing Reds this Saturday lunchtime. Eddie Howe has managed to take Newcastle from their relegation scrap, and place them nicely in the top half of the table. Much has been made about the acquisition of the Geordies, but nothing can be taken away from the job that their manager is doing.
Newcastle will be without Ryan Fraser, Kieran Trippier, Callum Wilson, Isaac Hayden and Jamal Lewis. Their last outing saw them hammer Norwich 0-3 at Carrow Road, and given their current weekly schedule, should go with the same starting line up. With Bruno Guimaraes now showing such immense class since signing, he will be key to Howe’s tactical set up. With a nice blend of pace and creative play up top, they are well primed to cause Liverpool massive problems this weekend.
Liverpool will once more delve into rotation territory, with a return leg against Villarreal to come next week. Their League form has been imperious, but this is now a huge test of Klopp’s men. They come into this game with only Roberto Firmino a real doubt. Curtis Jones and Kostas Tsimikas were noted as being unwell, but should be ready if needed.
Joel Matip should now return to partner Virgil at the back, with Kostas a likely starter if 100%. The midfield will see Naby Keita recalled, with perhaps Fabinho rested. Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson could start once more, though there are other options ready to come in if required. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Harvey Elliott was waiting in the wings, with Curtis Jones another name to be considered
The attack is an ever revolving group of three, and Diogo Jota should be recalled this weekend. Mohamed Salah seems an ever present, so either Mane or Diaz will likely start also. Divock Origi has once again become a name of relevance, but will probably continue to be used as a substitute option.
The Reds have to win, and they will probably be hoping that Newcastle’s confirmed safety will see them slightly less intense. Liverpool will be in control of possession, and will probably want an open game for their forwards to exploit space. The Reds’ array of talent (and absolute desire for three points), should see them just about win. Newcastle are now a team to be feared however, and where this game was once a fixture full of goals, we may be about to witness another classic.
Player to watch – Mohamed Salah
Newcastle 3 – 4 Liverpool