Liverpool will look to extend their lead at the top of the table when they host Newcastle at Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Reds are the only team to win each of their opening 4 games, picking up 12 points in the process. They are currently 2 points ahead of defending champions Manchester City and 4 points clear of Leicester City in 3rd place.
The lack of big summer signings looks to be a thing of the past with Jurgen Klopp’s faith in his existing squad faring out well so far. The only senior signing, goalkeeper Adrian, continues to do a decent job as Alisson Becker works his way back to full fitness after suffering a calf injury in the first league game of the season.Embed from Getty Images
The Reds are aiming to take the final step this time, after missing out the league title due to a solitary point, despite posting the 3rd highest points total in PL history. While they did overcome the disappointment to lift the Champions League, the league title will once again be the top priority this season.
Coming to their opponents, Newcastle United continue to experience turbulent times, mainly due to the decisions of their owner Mike Ashley. Even under Rafa Benitez, one could get the sense of trouble brewing at all times. Now, the club parted ways with the Spaniard and hired Steve Bruce in the summer, much to the fans’ disdain.
The Toons sit 14th in the league table, with 4 points from as many games. They lost to Arsenal and Norwich in the opening 2 games before pulling off an upset at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. They drew the previous game against Watford at home and are set for a long season fighting to staying away from relegation.Embed from Getty Images
While they let last season’s star Ayoze Perez join Leicester, the additions of Hoffenheim forward Joelinton, OGC Nice winger Allan Saint-Maximin along with full-backs Emil Krafth and Jetro Williams definitely bolster the side.
However, playing Liverpool at Anfield is one of the toughest assignments for any side and Newcastle will consider themselves lucky if they nick a result on Saturday.
Coming to team news, Alisson has stepped up his recovery but the game against Newcastle will be too early for the custodian. Naby Keita has a slim chance of making it for the game while Nathaniel Clyne is definitely out.
Most of the team picks itself with Joel Matip partnering Virgil van Dijk in defence while the front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino start. Considering the minutes played by Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum in the international break and the upcoming trip to Naples midweek, Klopp could opt to start Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in this game.
Looking at Newcastle, they will be without Matt Ritchie and Andy Carroll with ankle injuries while the game comes too soon for Saint-Maximin. Other absentees include Florian Lejeune and Jack Colback. DeAndre Yedlin and Dwight Gayle are expected to be fit for this game though.
Head-To-Head and Liverpool vs Newcastle Prediction
In terms of head-to-head, Newcastle have won just twice in the past 10 meetings between the sides. Liverpool picked up 5 wins while the rest ended in a stalemate. The visitor’s last win came way back in 2015 with the Reds winning each of their last 3 meetings.
The most recent meeting between the sides ended in a 2-3 thriller at St. James Park with Klopp’s men digging deep to pick up all 3 points. The reverse fixture last season ended in a 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle at Anfield though.
In fact, in the last 5 meetings at Anfield, the home side won 4 times and drew once. They scored 12 goals and conceded just 3, keeping 3 clean sheets.
Further, Liverpool have scored 4 against Norwich and 3 against Arsenal at Anfield so far and another high-scoring game could be on the cards. Newcastle usually sit back and defend away to big sides and this will be another such match.
Thus, it will all come down to the sharpness of Liverpool’s attack and one can expect the Reds to notch their 5th straight win on Saturday.
Predicted Liverpool XI: Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Mane, Firmino
Predicted Newcastle XI: Dubravka; Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems; Almiron, Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu; Joelinton