St James’ Park, Newcastle
Saturday 1st Nov, 2014; 12:45 GMT
Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool head to the North East to take on a rejuvenated Newcastle United in their 10th game of the Barclays Premier League this Saturday, with both teams having enjoyed Carling cup success in midweek. The Reds will arrive at St James’ Park after a morale boosting 2-1 win over Swansea thanks to two late goals from summer signings Mario Balotelli and Dejan Lovren. Questions have been raised regarding the summer recruits and Rodgers will be hoping the most criticized of them, Mario Balotelli breaks his duck in the league. He made a telling contribution in the Capital One Cup game but more is expected of the Italian striker and those around him as Liverpool have already slipped nine points of the pace in the title race.
Alan Pardew was a dead man walking two weeks ago but three consecutive wins have changed the complexion of Newcastle’s season. Back-to-back wins against Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur followed by a stunning 2-1 victory at Manchester City on Wednesday means Pardew is the tune of the Toon Army again. Such is Newcastle’s upturn in fortunes that they can move to within one point of the Reds with a victory despite having failed to win any of the first seven games this season. St James’ Park will be rocking for one of this division’s most romantic fixtures.
Team news and tactical brief
After a woeful start to the season which saw Newcastle in the relegation zone, the Magpies have found some form which looks to have turned their season around. They are unbeaten in this month so far and will be looking to turn three consecutive wins into four in all competitions. They have not won this fixture since the 2011/12 season. Pardew made wholesale changes for the midweek Carling cup game and the manager could recall a number of players he chose to rest back to the starting lineup such as Tim Krul, Vernon Anita, Moussa Sissoko and Remy Cabella.
Midfielder Check Tiote has been ruled out for this game after failing to shake off a calf problem. The Ivory Coast midfielder has not featured for the Magpies since his return from the international duty earlier this month while Papiss Cisse is also a major doubt after suffering a knock in his fractured kneecap. Central defender Mike Williamson will not be risked unless he recovers fully from his muscle strain while two games in four days will prove too much for Ryan Taylor after his return from a two-year layoff. Pardew has some selection dilemmas but 18-year-old midfielder Rolando Aarons is likely to be on the bench. Recent goals should be enough for Ayoze Perez and Sammy Ameboi to be included in attack, with Papiss Cisse and Siem de Jong injured. Davide Santon also remains out, so Paul Dummett will continue at left-back.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Krul(GK); Janmaat, Taylor, Coloccini, Dummett; Anita, Colback; Gouffran, Sissoko, Ameobi; Perez
It has been an indifferent start to the campaign for Rodgers’ side with Liverpool still searching for the next level of performance but the Reds manager will be hoping that the last-gasp victory against Swansea provides them the platform to build on and get a consistent run of good results. Simon Mignolet looks set to replace Brad Jones in goal and a changed back four could also return to a familiar look. Javier Manquillo looked tired at the end of Tuesday’s match so he will be rested for this game which means Glen Johnson will move to right-back allowing Alberto Moreno to come back in the team at left-back. Dejan Lovren will be boosted by scoring his first goal for his new club and there is also a good chance that Kolo Toure will partner him in defence after a good outing in midweek.
Coutinho’s 90 minutes in midweek could see Rodgers choose to play Raheem Sterling from the start which will allow the Brazilian to make an impact from the bench. Steven Gerrard could be placed at the bottom the diamond midfield with Jordan Henderson and Emre Can ahead of him. Rodgers might be tempted to play two upfront with Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini, whose performance in the midweek warrants a chance in the Premier League.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-1-2-1-2): Mignolet(GK); Johnson, Toure, Lovren, Moreno; Gerrard, Can, Henderson, Sterling; Borini, Balotelli
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last four meetings with Newcastle (W2, D2)..
There has never been a goalless draw between these sides in their 40 Premier League clashes. The last time a meeting ended 0-0 was in February 1974.
Newcastle have had five players sent off in their last four league games against Liverpool
Alan Pardew’s side have lost just two of their last eight Premier League matches.
The last time Liverpool failed to score away from home in the league was in the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal nearly a year ago on 2 November.
They scored six goals in the three matches Daniel Sturridge has played in this season – compared to seven in the six matches in which he has been out injured.
Mario Balotelli has scored just one goal in his last 23 Premier League appearances.
Player to Watch Out For
Fabio Borini (Liverpool)
Fabio Borini was on his way out of the club this summer but decided to reject all moves and stay back to fight for his place. The Italian was brilliant in the midweek game against Swansea City which was capped off with a brilliant assist for Mario Balotelli’s equalizer. Borini certainly made his case and will be hoping to continue his good run to secure a regular starting place in the lineup.
Newcastle United 2–2 Liverpool
A couple of weeks ago Newcastle manager Alan Pardew could have been forgiven for dreading the prospect of facing Liverpool. But recent form have brought new hope to their fans and while Liverpool themselves struggle to deliver their best on the pitch, a much needed win in midweek could provide them the lift they required. An exciting encounter with plenty of goal-mouth action could finish with two sides sharing the spoils.
Blast From the Past
In the last five visits to Tyneside, the Reds have lost twice, drawn once and won twice – the last of which was two seasons ago when Rodgers’ side thrashed the Geordies 6-0, thanks to a brace each from Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge and a goal apiece from Fabio Borini and Daniel Agger.