Liverpool return to Premier League action with the visit of Newcastle on Saturday lunchtime, as they aim to continue their remarkable winning streak.
Liverpool vs. Newcastle
Saturday, September 14, 2019, 12.30pm (BST)
Referee: Andre Marriner
The international break is over and proper football is back.
Liverpool were superb last time around, dispatching of Burnley 3-0 at Turf Moor, in what was their most accomplished display of the season to date.
It further suggested that Jurgen Klopp‘s men are all set to repeat their 2018/19 heroics in the league, racking up points at an impressive rate.
This weekend represents another great chance of victory for Liverpool, as Newcastle make the trip to Anfield.
After the rather predictable exit of Rafa Benitez, due largely Mike Ashley’s increasingly unpopular ownership, all is not well at St James’ Park.
Boyhood fan Steve Bruce has come in and attempted to steady the ship, and although four points in as many games is an adequate start, a long season lies ahead.
Such is Liverpool’s supreme record at Anfield these days—they haven’t lost there in the league since April 2017—it is difficult to see anything other than a home win.
A Saturday lunchtime affair just after the international break can risk being a little flat, however, and the Reds must continue the form they showed at Burnley.
Put simply, they have to win matches of this ilk if they want to overcome a relentless Man City side in the title race.
There are no new injury problems for Klopp to contend with after the internationals.
Alisson is still sidelined, though, as are Nathaniel Clyne and Naby Keita, although the latter will return to training next week.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson are expected to start at the back, as has been the norm so far this season.
Joe Gomez remains a strong option, but Matip’s excellent performances have seen the 22-year-old warm the substitutes’ bench regularly.
In midfield, Klopp’s go-to trio of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum could start, although the No. 3 returned late from international duty with Brazil and the others started twice for England and the Netherlands.
James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may, therefore, be in line to feature, should any of the three not be deemed ready.
The same applies to Roberto Firmino in that respect, but Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are well rested after no international commitments.
Newcastle are without Sean Longstaff, Florian Lejeune, DeAndre Yedlin, Allan Saint-Maximin, Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll, while Miguel Almiron is also a doubt.
Last 5 At Home to Newcastle (All Competitions)
Won 4-0 – December 2018 (Lovren, Salah pen, Shaqiri, Fabinho)
Won 2-0 – March 2018 (Salah, Mane)
Drew 2-2 – April 2016 (Sturridge, Lallana; Cisse, Colback)
Won 2-0 – April 2015 (Sterling, Allen)
Won 2-1 – May 2014 (Agger, Sturridge; Skrtel OG)
Did You Know?
The influence of Salah, Mane and Firmino is clear, but their brilliance is outlined by their goalscoring expertise.
At least one of Liverpool’s much-lauded front three has scored in 12 of the Reds’ last 13 Premier League games.
The only time they didn’t came at Cardiff in April, when Wijnaldum and Milner got the goals.
In that time, Salah (eight), Mane (10) and Firmino (five) have scored 23 times between them in the league, going to show why they are Europe’s most-feared attacking unit.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 3-0 vs. Burnley
Won 3-1 vs. Arsenal
Won 2-1 vs. Southampton
Drew 2-2 vs. Chelsea (won 5-4 on penalties)
Won 4-1 vs. Norwich
Newcastle – Last five results (all competitions)
Drew 1-1 vs. Watford
Drew 1-1 vs. Leicester (lost 4-2 on penalties)
Won 1-0 vs. Tottenham
Lost 3-1 vs. Norwich
Lost 1-0 vs. Arsenal
Speaking on Friday, Klopp talked up Newcastle as a side, singling out striker Joelinton for special praise:
“[They are] very difficult to play, they pretty much kept the style of last year, Rondon got replaced by Joelinton: if you are looking for a player who is similar to Rondon, good choice!
“He can keep the ball, he’s a proper threat, has the speed and all that stuff.
“Then the wingers are quick, five at the back difficult to create chances against, they are always ready for counter-attacks, they have the speed for it.
“I think [they had] 24 or 25 percent possession at Tottenham, but always really, really good, scored a wonderful goal and defended with a big heart and good organisation.
“That’s it. That’s what we had to prepare for and that’s what we did.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Liverpool vs. Newcastle is live on BT Sport 1 from midday (BST), with kickoff at 12.30pm.
Ben Twelves is tasked with talking you through the game on our matchday liveblog from 11.45am, as the Reds aim to retain their 100 percent record in the league.