Liverpool v Newcastle – The Premier League Preview

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Reds’ Chance to Extend Lead at the Top

For this New Year’s Day encounter, 1st placed Liverpool host the Geordies, with the chance to extend or regain a lead at the top of the Premier League table. By the time the Reds kick off this Monday night encounter, Arsenal may or may not have overtaken Liverpool, as they themselves head to Craven Cottage on Sunday (14.00), where Mikel Arteta will hope to record a win over Fulham. On Thursday night, the Gunners lost at home to West Ham, who were able to overpower their London rivals with a surprise 0-2 scoreline. Newcastle have not won at Anfield since 1995, therefore, will be attempting to scupper the Anfield giants’ reign at the top of the division.

The Newcastle Availability

Regarding the injury front, the visitors will be without Sandro Tonali, Nick Pope, Jacob Murphy, Harvey Barnes, Jamaal Lascelles, Joseph Willock, Elliot Anderson, Javier Manquillo, and Matt Targett. Regarding recent form, the eliminated Champions League side have also lost their last two league matches. This past midweek saw their home match against Nottingham Forest end in a 1-3 loss, after their trip to Kenilworth Road (Luton) ended in a 1-0 defeat. The match prior ended in a convincing home win, as Eddie Howe’s men won 3-0 against ten-man Fulham. A defeat in their final Champions’ League group match (1-2 against AC Milan) and an EFL Cup penalty shootout defeat to Chelsea (1-1 after normal time), means the big spending club are losing the initiative in this current campaign. With 29-points taken from 19-games played, the North East club will hope for a better second half to their season, or this could be the last for their former Bournemouth manager.

Below is my prediction on the starting eleven for the away side, in a 4-3-3 formation. The usual endeavour of grinding teams down and employing a dogmatic system may have to be abandoned if Howe’s side is to regain their form. The pace of Anthony Gordon will be key to any success, and he will be tasked with stretching the play as much as possible.

  • GK – Martin Dúbravka
  • RB – Kieran Trippier
  • RCB – Fabian Schär
  • LCB – Sven Botman
  • LB – Lewis Hall
  • RCM – Lewis Miley
  • DCM – Bruno Guimarães
  • LCM – Joelinton
  • RW – Miguel Almirón
  • CF – Alexander Isak
  • LW – Anthony Gordon

The Liverpool Availability

In terms of injuries, unavailability of Thiago Alcântara continues until early January, while Stefan Bajčetić and Andy Robertson are out well into the new year. Joël Matip has suffered a season-ending ACL injury, one that may have seen him play his last game for the club. Alexis Mac Allister is finally back in training, whilst Kostas Tsimikas will be out for the remainder of the season with a suspected dislocated shoulder. Two home draws with both Manchester United (0-0) and Arsenal (1-1) were followed by a solid 0-2 win away to Burnley, which sent Klopp’s men to the top of the Premier League. After their own 19-games played, a very impressive 42-points has been taken thus far.

Below is my prediction on the starting eleven for the home side, in which the hybrid initiative will continue. Some mild rotation will be undertaken, with the Reds’ next game not until the FA Cup trip to face Arsenal on the following Sunday. The main question will be who plays on the left wing, with Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota all competing with Luis Díaz for that starting shirt. Ibrahima Konaté will return in place of the brilliant 20-year-old, Jarell Quansah.

  • GK – Alisson Becker
  • RB – Trent Alexander Arnold
  • RCB – Ibrahima Konaté
  • LCB – Virgil van Dijk
  • LB – Joe Gomez
  • RCM – Dominik Szoboszlai
  • CDM – Wataru Endō
  • LCM – Curtis Jones
  • RW – Mohamed Salah
  • CF – Darwin Núñez
  • LW – Luis Díaz

How Will This Contest Play Out

I believe momentum and confidence will push Liverpool to a vital home win, especially given the current state of each side. The combination of Anthony Gordon and Alexander Isak will pose a clear and energetic threat to the Reds’ high line approach, therefore, the movement inside of Trent Alexander Arnold will have to be judged perfectly by Jürgen Klopp and his on-pitch leader, Virgil van Dijk. The ferocious attack of the red men and variation of goals that the Anfield side can muster should be enough, especially under those famous Anfield lights.

Player to watch – Mohamed Salah

Score Prediction:

Liverpool 4 – 3 Newcastle

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