Team News: Newcastle (a)

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Liverpool travel to the North East for an early kick off against Newcastle just two days after their impressive 3-0 win over Bolton on Boxing Day.

The Reds will have to travel on their only day off between the two games as the festive period brings games thick and fast. Meaning changes may be needed to ensure fresh legs.

Rafa Benitez is likely to call on Javier Mascherano after he sat out the Bolton match. Star striker Fernando Torres returns to the squad but is unlikely to start, meaning Steven Gerrard is likely to move from centre midfield to support striker alongside Robbie Keane, with Dirk Kuyt moving to the right of midfield.

Full back Alvaro Arbeloa remains sidelined with a hamstring injury meaning Benitez must decide whether to keep with the same back four, or bring in youngster Stephen Darby for his full league debut at right back and therefore shift Carragher back to the middle to replace Hyypia if the 34 year old Finn cannot play his second game in three days.

Defenders Martin Skrtel and Fabio Aurelio are both not in the provisional squad, despite both having been scheduled to have returned by now following knee and calf injuries. While Philipp Degen remains sidelined with a metatarsal injury.

This fixture last season saw an under-pressure Rafa Benitez guide Liverpool to a 3-0 win courtesy of goals from Gerrard, Kuyt and Babel.

Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear is without several players through injury and suspension. In defence, Kinnear is without Luis Enrique, Habib Beye and Sebastien Bassong. While Alan Smith, Joey Barton, Mark Viduka and Nacho Gonzalez are also out and Obafemi Martins and Shola Ameobi aren’t fully fit but may feature.

The match is live on Sky Sports 1, kick off 12pm.
Referee: Mark Halsey.

Provisional squad: Reina, Carragher, Agger, Hyypia, Insua, Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt, Gerrard, Keane, Cavalieri, Darby, Babel, Benayoun, Lucas, Ngog, El Zhar, Torres.

Newcastle: Given, Coloccini, Gutierrez, Butt, Guthrie, N’Zogbia, Duff, Owen, Harper, Taylor, Geremi, Edgar, Xisco, Carroll, Ameobi, LuaLua, Gonzalez.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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