Former Liverpool manager, Rafa Benitez visits Anfield with Newcastle United for a crucial Premier League encounter where a win for either side could prove vital to both the clubs’ goals for the season.
Free-scoring Liverpool welcome former boss Rafa Benitez and his Newcastle United side to Anfield for a crucial Premier League encounter. Liverpool with a win would go temporarily into second place as Manchester United don’t play till Monday. On the other hand, Newcastle need the points in their bid for survival come the end of the season.
Liverpool are in a rich vein of form having demolished West Ham United at Anfield with their attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all getting on the scoresheet. The Reds are unbeaten at Anfield this season, and Jurgen Klopp would like to follow the trend with a win over the Magpies.
Newcastle United sit 15th on the table, two points above the relegation zone. Despite all the talk of transfers and lack of funds that was made available for player purchases, Rafa Benitez has had an impressive run in the Premier League, and come into the game with some semblance of good form.
In the last round of matches though, Newcastle blew away a two-goal advantage against Bournemouth as the game ended 2-2. Against Liverpool, Benitez would be hoping his defence is much tighter to ward off the threat posed by Liverpool’s attackers and will put all his trust in captain Jamaal Lascelles to get a result.
Team News and Tactics
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is expected to stick with his lethal attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah upfront against Newcastle while there could be changes in midfield. Georginio Wijnaldum could be the only absentee for Klopp’s midfield options, having been suffering from an illness.
Klopp does bavw other options in place of the Dutchman, though. The manager is likely to reinstate Jordan Henderson back into the starting lineup, with the Englishman’s fitness being managed, while Klopp also has Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Emre Can and James Milner as options to choose from to partner Henderson.
Loris Karius has been the regular goalkeeper for some time now and will likely start in goal. The only major bone of contention at the back is picking Virgil van Dijk’s partners, with Joel Matip likely to get the nod on Saturday.
Probable Starting-XI – (4-3-3)
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Can; Salah, Mane, Firmino
Team News and Tactics
Rafa Benitez would be disappointed after the 2-2 draw against Bournemouth last weekend and is expected to make changes to the squad. Although he’s set to retain the defence from the previous match, there could be changes in midfield and attack.
Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is out of the game with a knee problem, and Benitez will make a late change to replace the Englishman. The major blow for Newcastle would be the absence of both their strikers, Islam Slimani and last week’s two-goal man, Dwight Gayle, as both are nursing a thigh injury.
Jesus Gamez will also be out of the tie due to a knee problem, although Ciaran Clark could return to the team as Benitez would ponder a five-man defence to face Liverpool.
Probable Starting Lineup (5-4-1): Dubravka; Yedlin, Lejeune, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Ritchie, Hayden, Diame, Kenedy; Joselu
- After Daniel Sturridge in 2014, Mohamed Salah is the first player to score in six successive games for Liverpool.
- In three Premier League meetings as Newcastle boss, Rafa Benitez is undefeated against his former side with all three games ending in draws.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in 21 league games at home against Newcastle with the last defeat dating back to 1994.
- Liverpool have scored 89 goals against Newcastle, more than any other side in the Premier League.
1. Over 10.5 Corners @ 1.72
2. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.95
1. Full-Time Result – Draw or Newcastle @ 4.33
Player To Watch
Not a surprise player to watch after a breathtaking season so far with Liverpool. The Egypt international’s stock has risen significantly during his debut season with the Reds. Salah has been the centre of Liverpool’s attacking displays all throughout the season so far and has played a central role in leading Liverpool into the top four.
Salah’s form hasn’t been restricted to teams at a certain level; instead, he has performed consistently against bigger teams as well as other teams in the League and Champions League. He has scored 31 goals across all competitions for Liverpool this season and we back him to add more, especially against the likes of Newcastle United.
Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle United
Newcastle have an impressive defence at their disposal which has raised its game in big matches this season. However, even the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, whose form has been one of the standout acts of the Premier League season would be unable to prevent Salah & Co. from scoring against them.
The game is played at Anfield where Liverpool have been unbeaten all season in the league and we expect them to continue the trend against the Magpies. Expect the front trio to come to the party once again, with the Reds cruising to a big win.