Preview: Liverpool vs Newcastle
Sitting pretty atop the Christmas tree, the Reds will be looking to prolong their lead on Boxing Day. Newcastle, led by legendary manager Rafa Benitez, will be the visitors. Old love will be put aside, as willy Rafa will be plotting to snatch all 3 points. In another must win game, here’s the preview between both sides.
When Liverpool and Newcastle meet, fans will always be expecting goals. After all, this is one of the highest scoring fixtures, averaging more than 3 goals a match. However, one suspects that Liverpool will be doing the scoring this time round. Cause while the Magpies boast a pretty decent defensive record away from home, conceding just 7, they haven’t score a great deal either. In fact, just 7 strikes were registered on the road, and only 5 were from open play. Which is why the Reds will be fairly confident of keeping another clean sheet.
That said, the Merseysiders should be patient come Wednesday. Rafa, who usually sets his side in a 5-4-1 formation, will hope to frustrate the host while nicking a winner. Against a side that sits so deep, the Reds need to be incisive to carve out decent chances. At the same time, they’ve to be wary of opposition counter attacks for fear of being caught out. Played right, a result and performance not too different from the Manchester United game is on the cards.
Starting XI Changes
With Arsenal to play just 3 days after Newcastle’s visit, Klopp will be looking to ring in the changes in a bid to keep the squad fresh. One of the more likelier changes would be Naby Keita, after he was substituted early versus Wolves. And while the boss had said that Keita’s issues ‘should be good’, giving the Guinean a couple days more rest wouldn’t be the worse idea.
Similarly, any of Liverpool’s front 3 are deserving of a rest. Firmino in particular looked a bit jaded on Friday, where he he was slightly sloppy in possession. Given his wonderful performance against the Red Devils, the gaffer needs to do everything possible to keep his star forward fresh.
Even if wholesale changes aren’t expected to be made, fringe players such as Sturridge, Lallana, Origi and Moreno should be fairly confident about their chances. Also, it’s important for fans to not feel discourage when the team sheets are announced. A weakened line up is understandably not a joyous sight to behold, but trust Klopp to make the right decision. Bournemouth was prove of it, so why don’t we put a little more faith in the manager?
Pressure On City
Week after week, the Reds had to play catch up with them kicking off late. But when it was finally Manchester City’s turn to do it, they failed. Spectacularly. Losing 3-2 to Crystal Palace, the Citizens now find themselves 4 points off the summit of the table. For Kopites, it was like Christmas arriving early, with many never expecting the Eagles to triumph.
Heading into matchweek 19, the Reds find themselves in an extremely favourable situation, with all the pressure piled on the Citizens. The Reds host Newcastle knowing whatever result will still leave them as league leaders. City on the other hand had to win at all cost to stay in touch with the Merseysiders. Such gung-ho approach tend to leave space at the back, and Liverpool will be praying that Leicester will take full advantage of it.
That said, we must still be fully concentrated on our own fixtures. We need to take it “game by game”, as how Virgil van Djik put it. City’s capitulation is a reminder to not underestimate the lesser sides. Right now, the Reds need to be focused on keeping their 4 point lead intact, and victory against the Magpies will certainly help.