With Newcastle suffering a sixth loss in their last seven games on Tuesday, Eddie Howe’s injury situation is dire ahead of the New Year’s Day trip to Liverpool.
With an increased workload and shoddy recruitment over the summer, the Magpies are now out of Europe and suffering a major loss in form due to ongoing injuries.
Boxing Day brought a 3-1 defeat at home to Nottingham Forest, which makes it three losses in a row and six in their last seven games.
They have only won five of their last 16 games in all competitions, losing nine of those, and could head to Anfield on Sunday as low as ninth in the Premier League.
This comes with nine senior players out either injured or suspended, with Howe admitting after the loss to Forest that none of those are expected back.
Nick Pope (shoulder), Harvey Barnes (foot), Sandro Tonali (ban), Joe Willock (heel), Jacob Murphy (shoulder), Elliot Anderson (back), Javi Manquillo (groin) and Matt Targett (thigh) are long-term absentees.
“Of course, we’ve suffered the injuries we’ve had and those players you see aren’t available…I don’t think anyone is coming back in the next few days,” Howe told reporters on Tuesday.
“It was really good that we had Joelinton return today, he’s been a massive miss for us.
“And we’ve still got players that are finding their fitness from playing matches, which is never ideal, and there were several players on the pitch today in that respect.
“We’ve not had it easy, and I think that needs to be acknowledged by me more than anyone else in my reflection of the team.”
Joelinton returned against Forest in his first game back after a short hamstring injury, avoiding a booking which would have ruled him out at Liverpool.
The Brazilian is likely to be restored to the starting lineup at Anfield, though clearly Howe has few other options to rotate his squad and seemingly fewer who are at full fitness.
Either Sean Longstaff or Lewis Miley will drop out for Joelinton in midfield, while Callum Wilson could be preferred to Miguel Almiron in attack and both Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall may be considered at full-back.
Kieran Trippier has regularly captained the side this season when Lascelles has been absent, but the right-back has been in shocking form of late, while left-back Dan Burn also struggled against Forest.
Predicted Newcastle XI vs. Liverpool: Dubravka; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Livramento; Guimaraes, Joelinton, Miley; Almiron, Gordon, Isak