Liverpool vs. Newcastle
Venue: Anfield Stadium
Kick off: 12:30PM
Liverpool will aspire to get their charge for a top-four Premier League finish back on track when they play host to Newcastle United at Anfield today at lunchtime.
The Reds dropped two points in a 1-1 draw at Leeds United last time out, while Newcastle’s upturn in fortunes continued with a 3-2 win over top-four chasing West Ham United.
With the European Super League dead in the water, for now, Liverpool and their infuriated supporters will simply be eyeing a top-four place in a race that Jurgen Klopp conceded defeat in during their dismal run in the winter period.
However, the Reds have turned their fortunes around since then and boast 10 points from their last four matches in the top flight, although they were pegged back in heartbreaking fashion at Leeds, as Diego Llorente headed in a late equaliser after Sadio Mane slotted home into an empty net to break the deadlock.
That 1-1 stalemate at Elland Road saw Liverpool’s three-game winning run in the Premier League away from home come to a grinding halt, and they have since been leapfrogged by Ryan Mason’s Tottenham Hotspur following their midweek win over Southampton, with Klopp’s men currently seventh in the rankings and two points off the top four.
A Trent Alexander-Arnold special against Aston Villa ensured that Liverpool’s abysmal top-flight Anfield run came to an end on April 10 – they had lost their last six and were winless in eight before that – but they have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 Premier League games on home soil.
Furthermore, the Reds could equal an unwanted 13-year-old record if they concede first at home for the eighth Premier League game in a row – a feat last achieved by Sunderland in 2008 – and there are certainly no guarantees against a resurgent Newcastle after they came up trumps against another top-four chasing team last weekend.
Joe Willock has clearly not forgotten his Arsenal roots since heading out on loan to Newcastle, as the Englishman followed up a late equaliser against Tottenham Hotspur with a late winner against another capital outfit in West Ham United during an enthralling 3-2 success for the Magpies.
Newcastle appeared to be strolling towards a comfortable win as an Issa Diop own goal and a Joelinton strike put them 2-0 up at half time, by which point Craig Dawson had been given his marching orders, but Diop rectified his first-half mistake with a goal before Jesse Lingard’s penalty levelled the scores.
Despite being on the pitch for a matter of seconds, Willock met Matt Ritchie’s cross and directed a powerful header past Lukasz Fabianski, who got a hand on his effort but could not keep it out, and Newcastle secured back-to-back wins following their previous success at Burnley.
Steve Bruce’s side are by no means home and dry just yet, but seven points from their last three matches has propelled them up to 15th in the table – eight clear of the dropzone with a game in hand on 18th-placed Fulham – so a couple more wins ought to do the trick for the Magpies now.
However, Newcastle have to face Arsenal, Leicester City and Manchester City after their trip to Anfield, and the North-East side are winless in their last 24 Premier League trips to Anfield since a 2-0 win in April 1994, although they did hold Liverpool to a goalless draw on December 30.
Liverpool possible XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Kabak, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Thiago, Milner, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Newcastle United possible XI: Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Longstaff, Almiron, Wilson, Joelinton.