The Road to Excellence: Can Liverpool Make the Leap?
Liverpool’s journey this season has been nothing short of commendable. But as they gear up for a face-off against Newcastle United, the question on everyone’s lips is: Can they turn this decent start into an exceptional one? Neil Jones, on his Substack.
“Victory over Newcastle United on Sunday would do just that, for Jürgen Klopp’s side.”
The Rivals: Newcastle’s Rising Challenge
Newcastle, under the guidance of Eddie Howe, is not just another team on the fixture list. They’ve shown their mettle, and their recent successes suggest they’re here to stay. Their Champions League aspirations are clear, and St James’ Park is buzzing with anticipation.
“There is, after all, a Champions League group stage draw on the horizon.”
Liverpool’s Away Blues: A Thing of the Past?
Last season’s away form was a thorn in Liverpool’s side. But the recent draw against Chelsea hints at a team learning from its past mistakes, ready to face the challenges head-on.
“The opening weekend draw at Chelsea, at least, suggests his players are responding a little better to adversity than previously.”
The Newcastle Test: A Battle of Titans
Newcastle’s robust team, crafted meticulously by Howe, is a force to reckon with. Their midfield prowess, combined with their defensive solidity, poses a significant challenge for the Reds.
“In the re-born Joelinton, the superb Bruno Guimarães and the summer signing Sandro Tonali, Newcastle boast one of the toughest midfields in the Premier League.”
Klopp’s Dilemma: Who Makes the Cut?
With the return of Alexis Mac Allister and the potential inclusion of Wataru Endo, Klopp has some crucial decisions to make. The Gakpo conundrum, the role of Darwin Núñez, and the return of Stefan Bajčetić add more layers to this intricate puzzle.
Injury Woes and Returns: A Mixed Bag for Liverpool
While the return of Bajčetić is a boost, the uncertainties around Thiago Alcântara and Curtis Jones remain. Tyler Morton’s comeback to training is a silver lining, hinting at a brighter future for the young midfielder.
“Klopp stated last week that the 31-year-old was “not quite ready” after his hip injury, and it may be that more patience is required before we see Thiago back in a red shirt.”