Match Preview: Liverpool vs. Newcastle United
The Magpies appear to be looking towards next season. The club have had a terrible 2015 so far. They currently sit 13th in the table and would likely be facing relegation if not for a solid October and November. The club have lost four consecutive matches.
Brendan Rodgers’ club are currently holding down the final Europa League position for next season, but they face a tough battle with Southampton and Tottenham to hold on to it. Liverpool fielded a full squad in their mid-week FA Cup win against Blackburn Rovers.
These two clubs always seem to play in close matches. And there are few better theatres than Anfield. The Magpies beat Liverpool 1-0 in their earlier encounter in November, thanks to a goal by Ayoze Pérez.
Injuries and Suspensions
Siem de Jong and Rolando Aarons practiced with the main squad this week, raising hopes that both may return before the season is done. Paul Dummett (knee) and Cheick Tioté (knee) are also out. They are not expected to return in time for Monday’s match.
Massadio Haidara (knee) and Steven Taylor (ruptured Achilles tendon) are done for the season. Fabricio Coloccini will sit out his final match due to a red card suspension. He is eligible to return next week against Tottenham. Papiss Cissé has four matches remaining on his suspension.
Liverpool are without Martin Skrtel and captain Steven Gerrard due to suspensions. French defender Mamadou Sakho exited their FA Cup match against Blackburn with an apparent hamstring injury and is not expected to play. Emre Can will be available after returning from a suspension. But Adam Lallana is battling a groin injury and remains doubtful.
Tactics and Possible Starting Line-Ups
Newcastle manager John Carver experimented with a 4-3-3 formation last week against Sunderland with little success. Near the hour mark, he switched back to a 4-4-2 with Pérez and Emmanuel Rivière in front. It was to no avail, with Newcastle going down in defeat 1-0.
Still, Carver is not expected to make any major changes, in part because of the number of injuries and suspensions the club currently has. With Coloccini, Dummett and Haidara all out, the club should field a makeshift back line once again against Liverpool. Right-back Daryl Janmaat should play centre-back, with Jack Colback and Ryan Taylor on the flanks.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is known for changing his formations and tactics. He used a 4-3-3 formation in their win against Blackburn and he is likely to go back to that on Monday. Rodgers has played with three at the back at times this season but the injury to Skrtel make that unlikely.
Philippe Coutinho scored against Blackburn and has been in excellent form for the club since the beginning of the New Year in particular. Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson lead the club in goals with six each. Daniel Sturridge has two goals in his last four Premier league matches.
Liverpool enjoyed a 13-match unbeaten run before losing to Manchester United and Arsenal. The defeat to United was only their third league defeat at home all season. The Reds hold the edge in recent encounters, winning five times in the last ten matches against Newcastle. That includes a 6-0 rout at St. James’ Park in April 2013.
Newcastle’s recent troubles are well-known. Their 1-0 defeat to bitter rivals Sunderland only added to the gloom. The Magpies have only two victories in 13 matches under John Carver. Their away record is dismal, with only one victory in their last ten.
Therefore, it is difficult to predict a Newcastle victory. However, a draw is a likely result. Liverpool will be playing on only four days rest. Rodgers played a full-squad and only managed a slim victory over a second-tier English club. Newcastle should be able to take advantage of their opponent’s fatigue. However, it will fall short of a victory.
Liverpool 1 – 1 Newcastle United
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