Newcastle (h) Team News: Masch out

Liverpool’s midfield enforcer Javier Mascherano has been ruled out of Saturday’s home match with Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle. More worryingly though he is rated doubtful for Wednesday’s crucial return leg against Inter Milan after suffering a muscle injury (dead leg!) in a challenge with Mark Noble against West Ham.

Rafa Benitez told the official site “I will need to speak to the doctors before we decide about Inter Milan but he will not be available this weekend against Newcastle.”

Aside from Mascherano, Benitez has no fresh injury doubts with only long term absentees Andriy Voronin and Daniel Agger ruled out.

Benitez has shelved his rotation policy in recent weeks but may choose to rest Jamie Carragher ahead of the trip to Milan, which would see Sami Hyypia come back in alongside the impressive Martin Skrtel at the back. It is unlikely Torres or Gerrard will be rested though.

For Newcastle, they are without Shay Given, Mark Viduka, Emre and Steven Carr. Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen is captain under Keegan’s new regime and both are looking forward to returning to Anfield. Keegan said:

“Of course it’s always special to go back, especially when we get a win like I have done on a couple of occasions,” said Keegan.

“It would be nice to do the same again but we know that’s not going to be easy. But if you go to Anfield expecting to get nothing that is exactly what you will get.

“That’s why we will go there tomorrow expecting to come home with something – and we are going to have a go and make sure we give them a good game.

“And don’t forget we are going there after what we all thought was a very encouraging performance against Blackburn Rovers last Saturday. Yes, Liverpool have a strong squad, but when haven’t they?”