Liverpool will face a tough test against a resilient Newcastle United as they try to build momentum after a club-record Premier League win this past weekend.
After a slow start to the season, Liverpool stormed back from their Old Trafford agony and took their frustrations out on newly-promoted Bournemouth over the weekend with a 9-0 drubbing of Scott Parker’s side.
This is only the second time Liverpool have scored nine goals in a league game, having done it against Crystal Palace in 1989. As a result, Jurgen Klopp’s side leapt up to ninth in the Premier League table and will aim to make up lost ground on the top four in the coming weeks.
Having picked up just two points from their first three Premier League games, it was a much-needed morale-boosting win for the Reds, and Klopp will now hope to string a run of wins together. However, Wednesday’s encounter with Newcastle will bring a sterner test for Liverpool, which will provide a truer reflection of their resolve, with the visitors unbeaten in five games this term ahead of this visit to Anfield.
Newcastle’s undefeated start to the new season continued on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux. The Magpies seemed destined for an anticlimax until Allan Saint-Maximin blasted an elegant volley past Wolves keeper Jose Sa to salvage a point in the Black Country.
That is now the third consecutive league draw for Eddie Howe’s side since beating Nottingham Forest on the opening day, something Newcastle fans would willingly take from Anfield given their recent history there.
Liverpool defeated Newcastle 3-1 in the corresponding fixture last season in what was a fairly comfortable victory for the Reds, who also did a Premier League double over Newcastle last term. That said, Newcastle are dangerous opponents and a force to be reckoned with under Howe’s guidance.
They have already shown they have the ability to go toe-to-toe against superior opposition, drawing 3-3 against Manchester City at St. James’ Park in a thriller in which they were unlucky not to beat the reigning English champions. Ahead of the latest meeting between Newcastle United and Liverpool, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Prepared for #LIVNEW 💪
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 30, 2022
Liverpool’s medical room has been flooded with players in the opening phase of the season, with boss Jurgen Klopp currently missing as many as ten senior players due to injury. Diogo Jota, Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ibrahima Konate, Calvin Ramsay, and Naby Keita are all sidelined, while Curtis Jones and Thiago Alcantara are in a race against time to get fit for the Newcastle game, and are unlikely to be risked either way.
Harvey Elliott was taken off as a precaution measure at half-time against Bournemouth, although it was later cleared that he is fine and available for the Anfield clash this midweek. Darwin Nunez will serve the final game of a three-match ban on Wednesday.
So, all in all, Liverpool are unlikely to make many changes to the starting XI from last weekend. Having said that, Klopp will still rotate a couple of players with the small matter of a Merseyside Derby to come on Saturday.
Alisson Becker is a certainty between the sticks for the Reds, with Liverpool lining up in their usual 4-3-3 formation in front of him. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are two of the only three fit centre-backs at the club, so they will continue to feature at the heart of Liverpool’s backline, flanked by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kostas Tsimikas, with Andy Robertson set for a breather here.
Up ahead in midfield, Fabio Carvalho could come back into the starting XI after his impressive showing against Bournemouth, with Harvey Elliott likely to be rested. This means skipper Jordan Henderson will have to switch across to the right side to help Alexander-Arnold deal with the threat of Fraser, while Fabinho will remain the sitting No. 6 at the base of midfield-three.
Following his goal-scoring exploits against Bournemouth, Roberto Firmino is expected to lead the line for Liverpool once more, with Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz providing support in the attacking third.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Tsimikas; Henderson, Fabinho, Carvalho; Salah, Firmino, Diaz
Much like his counterpart in the Liverpool dugout, Eddie Howe is counting his losses in the injury department, and his side is walking wounded as they prepare for Wednesday’s clash at Anfield. Newcastle United will be without the services of star duo Callum Wilson and Bruno Guimaraes, with the pair expected to miss at least the next two matches.
The Magpies are already without former Liverpool playmaker Jonjo Shelvey due to a long-term injury. Furthermore, Howe has revealed that Emil Krafth suffered an ACL injury during last week’s Carabao Cup win over Tranmere Rovers and is expected to be sidelined for six to nine months.
Eddie Howe on injuries:
"Maxi is a worry for us at the moment with a hamstring. It was late in the game off the back of a sprint to try and save a goal. Kieran Trippier should be fine." pic.twitter.com/rVYMq6D6VA
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 30, 2022
Newcastle are still awaiting international clearance to play new signing Alexander Isak against Liverpool after he missed out on making his debut in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Molineux due to work permit delay. But Howe is hopeful that the green light will come in time to allow the club-record signing to make his Newcastle bow.
Newcastle are also sweating on the fitness of Allan Saint-Maximin, who suffered a knock against Wolves, although he will be assessed before the game. The chances of the Frenchman starting the game are a bit slim, considering the Magpies will not want to take a risk on his long-term availability.
Eddie Howe has settled on a 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation since the turn of the year and is likely to keep the same system against Liverpool, though he could shuffle his pack, with games starting to come thick and fast.
Nick Pope will continue to feature in between the sticks for the visitors, with only one change in the back-four that took to the field against Wolves. Matt Targett should come into the playing XI in place of Dan Burn, with the latter’s lack of mobility a cause of concern in one-on-one situations against Mohamed Salah.
Howe will opt for a battle-hardened midfield three comprised of Joe Willock, Sean Longstaff, and Joelinton for this contest at Anfield. Dubbed as “the Geordie Maradona”, youngster Elliot Anderson will be available for selection on the bench but could come on to make an impact in the second half, as he did against Wolves last time out.
With Saint-Maximin a doubt, diminutive winger Ryan Fraser could slot into the left flank and would be a significant threat with his pace and deliveries into the box. Miguel Almiron will definitely keep his place on the right wing, while Chris Wood will hope to put a better performance than the dire outing at the Molineux.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Targett; Willock, Sean Longstaff, Joelinton; Almiron, Wood, Fraser
- Liverpool have won 14 of their last 16 home league matches and are unbeaten in their last 26 Premier League games against Newcastle at Anfield (W21 D5).
- Newcastle United are winless in their last 11 Premier League games against Liverpool (D4 L7) since a surprise 2-0 home win back in December 2015 under Steve McClaren.
- The hosts have won 10 of their last 11-midweek Premier League fixtures, winning each of the last six with a 18-2 combined scoreline.
- Newcastle are one of only five teams still unbeaten in the 2022-23 Premier League season and have drawn their last three league matches.
- Magpies’ boss Eddie Howe boasts a poor record facing the Reds and has lost eight straight meetings with Liverpool. However, the visitors should prove to be a more formidable unit than Howe’s former side, Bournemouth.
Player to Watch
It seemed bizarre that Mohamed Salah failed to get on the scoresheet, failing to register a goal or assist in Liverpool’s 9-0 thrashing of Bournemouth. Instead, Luis Diaz stepped up and stole the show, scoring the game’s first and last goals.
With his ability to find space around the box and make well-timed runs from deep into the area, as well as a quick turn of pace and dazzling dribbles, Diaz has proven to be a nightmare to defend against this term.
No Liverpool player has scored more league goals at Anfield since his debut in the Premier League in February than Diaz (6). Half of those have come in his last two home games, so The Hard Tackle anticipate the Colombian to score against Newcastle.
Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle United
So far, Liverpool have been hampered by injuries, with the midfield being a particular source of concern. On Saturday, Liverpool offered Bournemouth few openings, but it is hard to imagine their defensive woes going away altogether. Newcastle have ambitions to challenge Liverpool at the top of the table, but it is difficult to back them here considering they might be without almost all of their most influential attacking players.
Newcastle may provide a tougher challenge than Bournemouth, particularly on transitions, having already given Manchester City a bloody nose this season, but they will have to play out of their skins to get anything out of this tie. Liverpool will be the favorites to win this game, and for that reason, The Hard Tackle backs them to come out on top with a narrow result.