Battle number 31 for the Toon against one of their toughest rivals – Liverpool. In 35 Premier League games, NUFC have managed just 8 wins, 6 draws and 21 losses; the 3-1 recently at Anfield, Newcastle’s first game they’d lost after scoring first this season.
No draws have occurred in the last 6 between the two, Liverpool winning 5. And, 23 goals have been scored, 18 of which by Liverpool. Also, 3 or more goals have been scored by a team in those 6 games – 5 times by Liverpool, once by NUFC.
At home, NUFC have scored 22 in 15 games in this seasons top flight (1.47 pg) and away from home Liverpool have only notched 17 in 15; that ‘s just 1.13 goals per game. On those numbers, if NUFC can score 2, they should get a result out of this one, especially considering they are unbeaten in the last 6 at SJP.
Liverpool currently have 17.2 shots per game on average in the Premier League – the 4th best.
Just Villa and Stoke win more aerials per game than LFC (12.8 pg)
Only Manchester City & Arsenal concede less shots per game than the Merseyside Reds – 11.4.
They are caught offside more per game than any other Premier League side – 3.4.
They feature 15th for goals from open play – 18; 10 less than NUFC.
Liverpool have been the beneficiary of 4 own goals, which is the most in league, the same as NUFC.
They still produce the most crosses per game in the entire division – 30.
They play the 3rd most through balls per game behind City and Arsenal on average – 4.
Finally, Liverpool have the best average possession rating in the opposition’s half of all of the Premier League sides – 32%.
Luis Suarez – The enigmatic Uruguayan has the 3rd most shots per game in the Premier League, is the 4th most offside, produces the 4th most dribbles and is now the most fouled player per game ahead of Gutierrez. He has created the most chances from open play at Liverpool (44) and has the most open play assists (3). He has also produced the most goals (7), shots, shots on target and shots off target at the club this season.
Jose Enrique – The well-known Spaniard has had the most touches for Liverpool and produces the most total passes, passes in the attacking half and passes in the final third for them. Also, he wins more possession in the defensive third than any other Liverpool player.
Charlie Adam – He has created the most chances at the club – 31 from open play and 22 from set plays. Because of that, the Scotsman has the most assists (6). He also win’s more possession in the midfield 3rd than any Liverpool player.
How to win this one:
Other than themselves, Liverpool have no glaring weaknesses. Confidence is going to be key. At home, NUFC have got to stick to what they do best and try and replicate the first half against WBA. Liverpool have one of the best defensive records in the Premier League currently, but every defence in the world would find NUFC’s front 3 a handful – if Alan Pardew decides to go down that route again.
If HBA continues on the vein of form he left the Hawthorns with, Jose Enrique will find him very difficult to tame, especially coming in on that superb left foot of his onto Enrique’s right side.
Newcastle must be wary of their high line. Luis Suarez is a massive threat to any team, and he will play high on the shoulders looking to get in behind wherever possible.
Then, there’s the AC situation! If ever a player needed to make a point it’s him. And, where best to do it than your hometown club, especially if he receives a bad reception. Liverpool will look to get the ball to him early, particularly later in the game if the scores are level and, as the stats say, they will cross at every opportunity. Only 2 players (Crouch & Kaboul) win more headers than Carroll in the Premier League at present.
No doubt shadow of a doubt here, this is a toughy! NUFC have a terrible record in the Premier League against Liverpool and they need to start picking up points. But, against WBA, Newcastle showed that have not given up their charge for Europe and a win on Sunday would put them in a truly fantastic position!
NUFC_Stats Prediction: 1-2