Premier League Showdown: Newcastle vs Liverpool
At a Glance:
|8th in Premier League||4 points from 2 games|
|Lost 1-0 to Manchester City||Won 3-1 against Bournemouth|
|Drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge||5-1 victory against Aston Villa|
|2022/23||Newcastle 1 – 2 Liverpool|
|2021/22||Liverpool 3 – 1 Newcastle|
With four points taken from Liverpool’s opening two games, this match takes on high importance, especially given the opposition. Newcastle is very much in the ascendancy since they were taken over. After some smart signings and even smarter management by Eddie Howe, they deservedly finished 3rd in the 2022/23 Premier League season. Their comeback from mediocrity mirrors that of Manchester City’s 21st-century rise, with vast amounts of oil money enabling a complete turnaround in each group’s fortunes. Liverpool has long held a stunning rivalry with the Geordies. Many fans, including mine, undoubtedly consider one of their meetings as the greatest game they have ever witnessed.
On the home side’s injury front, Emil Krafth and Joseph Willock are both ruled out, whereas Javier Manquillo is currently being assessed.
The link below shows how the 8th placed Premier League team started against the reigning champions, Manchester City. One would imagine that eleven will not be dissimilar to that which is selected for their forthcoming Super Sunday outing. The game at the Etihad ended in a 1-0 defeat, with every midfielder (or attacker) not named Bruno Guimarães substituted at some point. With that, both Harvey Barnes and Tino Livramento will be hoping to dislodge Anthony Gordon and Dan Burn, respectively. However, the rest of the team should remain unchanged. Prior to that narrow loss, Newcastle recorded an emphatic 5-1 victory against Aston Villa in their opening game of the 2023/24 campaign.
The Liverpool Availability
Liverpool comes into this game needing another positive result after their 3-1 home victory against Bournemouth, which followed a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge the weekend prior. The Cheick Doucouré and André Trindade speculation continues to circulate, with the Reds’ endless monitoring seemingly a continuing exercise. The fanbase has at least been able to rejoice, having learned that the very harsh Alexis Mac Allister red card and suspension (against The Cherries) has now been rightfully overturned. Therefore, I expect only one change for this game. Cody Gakpo has been drafted into the midfield for the opening two games of the campaign, more out of necessity than anything else. Given the level of opposition this weekend, we should see Wataru Endō drafted into the Reds’ holding role, adding a more defensive look to Jürgen Klopp’s midfield lineup. There is, of course, a chance that Stefan Bajčetić or Thiago Alcântara could come into the side as the visitors look to gain more control of the center of the pitch. Upfront, Diogo Jota was able to garner an assist and a goal last weekend, though the manager may still look to bring Darwin Núñez or Cody Gakpo into that central striker’s position, depending on what suits the required strategy. Trent Alexander Arnold appears to be the only doubt for this game, having come off injured last time out. His ankle problem seems to be only a minor setback. However, Joe Gomez is the likely starter if the new vice-captain is not fully fit. The rest of the team will remain unchanged.
How Will This Contest Play Out
This is one of the more intriguing contests of the season, as two of the Premier League’s most entertaining sides look to gain control over one another. The home advantage will need to be significant, especially after some disconnect from the Geordie support following their loss last weekend. In terms of control, this game will be won or lost in a delightfully well-matched midfield battle. At one time, it looked like Bruno Guimarães might end up at Anfield, whereas Dominik Szoboszlai was previously linked with a move to the Toon. Now, each tremendous player will look to gain the upper hand over one another in the on-pitch contest of the day. Whereas the home side may look to slow down the game, Liverpool will inevitably attempt to increase the pressure. If Klopp’s Japan international captain were to make his debut, this would release Alexis Mac Allister into a more creative role. In this scenario, I do feel like the Reds’ abundance of attacking wealth will see them through in a marginal away win.
Key Player Spotlight: Alexis Mac Allister
Predicted Outcome Newcastle 1 – 2 Liverpool
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