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Irrespective of recent results, Newcastle United would not have been looking forward to hosting the champions at St. James’ Park. But, after Jurgen Klopp’s side were thoroughly Allardyced in their 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, the Magpies have to be fearing the worst.
Since the start of last season, there have only been two occasions where Liverpool have gone two league matches without a win. The first instance was after they were already confirmed as champions in 2019/20, the second when an injury time winner at Goodison Park was ruled out by the narrowest of offsides by the team at CSI: Stockley Park. The Reds don’t face setbacks very often, and they usually respond very well when faced by one.
Wednesday 20:00 – Newcastle v Liverpool
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Liverpool also have a very good record against Newcastle. They’ve won the last five meetings and drew the two prior to that. The only time they lost under Klopp was so early in the German’s reign that his side contained the likes of Clyne, Ibe and Moreno, while Gini Wijnaldum was on the score sheet for Steve McClaren’s Magpies. Yes, it’s been a while.
Yet the Reds haven’t been very good on the road this season. Considering they battered Crystal Palace 7-0 at Selhurst Park on their last away day that might sound a strange statement, but only four teams – all of whom are in the bottom five – have won fewer away matches in the top-flight in 2020/21.
And only five teams went into this round of fixtures with more home wins than Newcastle. But, while that sounds impressive, Steve Bruce’s side have only been victorious in three of their seven matches in the north east – with the lowly scalps of Burnley and West Brom accounting for two of them.
They’ve also failed to keep a clean sheet on their own patch this term, which is only also true for two terrible teams: Sheffield United and Arsenal. As Liverpool are the only club who have scored in every Premier League match this season, and they’ll be fired up by their failure against the Baggies, they should cruise home in this match.
Klopp’s side might have scored in every game, but they’ve often conceded too. After 15 matches, they are joint-top of the Premier League’s ‘both teams to score’ chart, alongside Brighton.
In fairness to them, it’s hardly a surprise with all of the defensive injuries which they have sustained this season. Liverpool have already used 14 different centre-back pairings this season (10 in the league) and with Joel Matip having limped off on Sunday, Klopp may have to deploy Fabinho and Rhys Williams in this match. A central midfielder and a kid who was playing non-league football last season, in other words.
Newcastle also tend to score when hosting the traditional top teams. They have only drawn a blank in one of their seven home league games against ‘the big six’ since Bruce took charge, so while they’ve only won two of the matches, the Magpies usually make a game of it at least.
Callum Wilson should return having been an unused substitute last time out too, and as he is the only Newcastle player with more than two league goals this season – so their chances of scoring will increase substantially.
The last four meetings of these teams have all featured at least four goals, and the previous three matches have seen both teams find the net. As there famously hasn’t been a 0-0 draw between these teams since 1974, we can expect a few goals in this one.
Divock Origi might have scored in this fixture in each of the last two seasons, but it seems reasonable to assume that Klopp will go with his tried-and-trusted front three as The Reds need a win to keep ahead of the chasing pack.
While you could make a case for any of them in the goal scorer markets, Sadio Mane appears to be over his recent dry spell having scored in each of Liverpool’s last two matches. His form away from home has been strong since July on the whole anyway, with the Senegalese international having scored six goals and assisted another in his last eight appearances on the road. He opened the scoring against a team in black and white on Sunday, and can do so again here.
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