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Back to the football, and to earn it on the pitch – Liverpool vs. Newcastle Preview

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From ‘it doesn’t matter’ back to ‘three points are a must’, Liverpool return to the pitch five days after football was turned upside down, with the top-four back on the agenda.

Liverpool vs. Newcastle

Saturday, April 24, 2021 – 12.30pm (BST)
Anfield
Premier League (33)
Referee: Andre Marriner


The target for Jurgen Klopp and his side will have remained unchanged on Monday evening in the midst of attempts to tear European football apart.

But for many, it did leave the question of if the outcome at Leeds would hold any great significance with Liverpool to be assured of their place in the Super League irrespective of their finish in the league.

Merely 24 hours later, however, the plans would burn to ash and the Reds’ single point would re-emerge as a missed opportunity to leapfrog their rivals.

Now in seventh place heading into the weekend, there is little room for error to peg back the two-point deficit to the top-four and salvage what has truly been a season like no other.

Punishment may yet arrive from the powers that be, but Klopp and co. will not be interested in the slightest as their jobs remain as it always has: to pick up all three points and the rest will take care of itself.

Newcastle are away from danger but are enjoying a hot streak, now it’s on Liverpool to kick on, place pressure on those around them and and show football without jeopardy is not football at all.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 14, 2021: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madird CF at Anfield. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Real Madrid won 3-1 on aggregate. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp, of course, continues to be without his three senior centre-backs, as well as captain Jordan Henderson.

Nat Phillips will not return from a hamstring issue and that means Fabinho continue in defence.

Thiago, Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner will likely start in midfield, but Curtis Jones is back from injury now.

Mohamed Salah didn’t start on Monday, meaning it would be a surprise if he didn’t feature prominently – Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino may replace him on the substitutes’ bench.

There is the option of Klopp playing all four attacking players, though, adopting a 4-2-3-1 formation and deploying just two midfielders, if all are fit and available.

Key man Allan Saint-Maximin is expected to be fit for Newcastle, while captain Jamaal Lascelles is definitely out, along with Fabian Schar, Karl Darlow and Ryan Fraser.

Possible Newcastle XI: Dubravka; Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie; Shelvey, Longstaff; Almiron; Wilson, Joelinton

 

Last 5 at Home to Newcastle (All Competitions)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 14, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Won 3-1 – September 2019 (Willems; Mane x2, Salah)
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)

 

Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 1, 2020: Liverpool's Andy Robertson during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and AFC Ajax at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0 to win the group and progress to the Round of 16. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Andy Robertson has been a wonderful player for Liverpool, but it is hard to deny that he has fallen below his best this season.

One eye-opening statistic sums up the Scot’s struggles going forward, with the left-back not registering an assist for the Reds in 2021 to date.

The last time Robertson teed-up an opponent to score was away to Crystal Palace way back on December 19, when he crossed beautifully to Firmino.

While the 27-year-old got 11 and 12 assists in 2018/19 and 2019/20 respectively – he will need to hit top form if he is to match those tallies this time around.

 

Form

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Monday, April 19, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané kneels to pray as he celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. (Pic by Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 2-2 vs. Leeds
Drew 0-0 vs. Real Madrid
Won 2-1 vs. Aston Villa
Lost 3-1 vs. Real Madrid
Won 3-0 vs. Arsenal

Newcastle – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 3-2 vs. West Ham
Won 2-1 vs. Burnley
Drew 2-2 vs. Tottenham
Lost 3-0 vs. Brighton
Drew 1-1 vs. Aston Villa

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp powerfully addressed the fallen Super League and how the club needs to unite not divide over the owners’ actions:

“I really hope the bond between us and our supporters might even get stronger and that we don’t discuss the bad decisions of the past, I just don’t understand life like this.

“They’re good people, I know the owners, I know they’re not perfect like I’m not perfect, but they are not bad people.

“They made a not so good decision, a bad decision, but let’s carry on. That’s my point of view and I can’t tell people how to see it.

“But now we must make sure we don’t get any harm from it, like a different atmosphere in the club.”

 

TV & Liveblog Info

General view of a spidercam - Anfield, television camera (Peter Byrne/PA Wire.)

Liverpool vs. Newcastle is a 12.30pm kickoff and is live in the UK on BT Sport 1. Coverage gets underway at 11.30am.

Ben Twelves is in charge of This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, making sure you are all kept up-to-date in biased fashion here from 11.45am.

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