Liverpool (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

The dreaded international break is finally over, but it doesn’t look likely to get much easier for us Newcastle fans, with our weekend starting with a daunting trip to Anfield!

Realistically, games like this are often approached with a ‘damage limitation’ mentality, however our superb display in that 0-1 win at Spurs will give the players newfound belief that we *might* just surprise a few here.

That being said, there is now a clear gulf between the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool, with the latter being Champions League winners, title contenders, unstoppable at home, brilliant at the back and boasting one of the most formidable attacking trios in world football.

It’ll take another mammoth display from all involved if we’re to come away from this with something, so let’s hope our lads can dig in and stay disciplined throughout.

Predicted XI

Starting at the back, the defence almost picks itself right now. Yedlin, Ritchie and Lejeune are still missing and Krafth seems to be Bruce’s first choice at right-back and ahead of Javier Manquillo in the pecking order. Willems has looked good going forward in his last two appearances, but his ability to defend will be well and truly tested against Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold here!

With Sean Longstaff ruled out, Shelvey seems nailed on to get another chance in midfield. Bruce may be tempted to pack the midfield, but this is doesn’t feel like a game that suis Ki Sung-yeung – who was woeful defensively in that defeat at Norwich – and I don’t see Matty Longstaff being thrown in at the deep end just yet.

In attack, it sounds like Almiron will be OK to play despite only returning from international duty with Paraguay on Thursday. He and Atsu will need to protect Krafth and Willems out wide, but will also be tasked to use their pace at the other end hit Liverpool on the counter whenever possible. As for Joelinton, he could have a huge role to play as our lone striker. A Spurs-esque display will be needed from him if we’re to have any joy in attack, but that will be easier said than done against Virgil Van Dijk!

Preferred NUFC XI – (5-4-1) – Dubravka – Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems – Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu – Joelinton.

The Opposition

Stopping Salah and Mane, containing their marauding full-backs and getting past Van Dijk will be the biggest obstacles facing NUFC, but here’s a few other ‘ones to watch’ in Jurgen Klopp’s side:

Adrian – There’s not many weaknesses in this Liverpool side, but they’ve been left with a pretty ordinary goalkeeper in Adrian following a long-term injury to Alisson. He’s made the odd big mistake already, so shooting on sight and putting pressure on him from corners could pay off.

Roberto Firmino – A class act, but a player who’s often forgotten about, with Mane and Salah tending to be the two goal machines in this Liverpool side. That said, Firmino’s movement and link up play is second to none, meaning he could easily have a field day if we put too much focus on stopping Salah / Arnold and Mane / Robertson in wide areas.

Geogrinio Wijnaldum – Like it or not, the Dutchman has come on leaps and bounds since swapping Tyneside for Merseyside a few years ago. He’s no longer that player who goes missing in games and is the sort of later arriver into the box that Jonjo Shelvey mustn’t forget to track.

Predicted Liverpool XI – (4-3-3): Adrian – Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson – Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson – Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Team news

Sean Longstaff will miss out after suffering a ‘freak’ ankle injury in training, while Allan Saint-Maximin (hamstring), Matt Ritchie (ankle), Andy Carroll (ankle), Dwight Gayle (calf), DeAndre Yedlin (groin) and Florian Lejeune (ACL) have also been ruled out.

Miguel Almiron returned late from international duty, but Steve Bruce’s pre-match comments suggest he’ll be fit enough to play.

Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson has been ruled out once again, but Naby Keita is back in training and in contention to play for the first time this season.

Klopp will also have to decide whether Joe Gomez or Joel Matip partners Virgil Van Dijk at centre-back.


Our 1-0 win at Spurs was outstanding, but we’ll have to be even better against Liverpool if we’re to avoid defeat here. They’re just that good.

The fact Longstaff is missing is also a blow, with his work rate and discipline off the ball superior to his likely replacement, Jonjo Shelvey.

Not only that, I struggle to see an attack minded full-back in Jetro Willems coping well with both Mo Salah and Trent Alexandr-Arnold down their right-hand side, with Sadio Mane also likely to have too much pace for Emil Krafth.

We’ve only conceded 2 goals in our last 3 games following that miserable day at Norwich, however I can’t help but fear this will be a long old afternoon at Anfield.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

72 thoughts on “Liverpool (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

  1. It takes a brave man or an idiot to predict anything other than a loss tomorrow.

    Lee Ryder has us down for a 1-1 draw.


  2. Liverpool haven’t started as defensively sound as they were last season – but as Stu would rightly point out – our front line aren’t likely to punish them & I think Virgil can handle Joe unfortunately.
    We saw signs of fraction between Mane and Salah before the break too – hopefully that has continued.

    I think it’s going to take something like that, or a real off day for Liverpool for us to stand a chance I think.

    At 20/1 I couldn’t help but hoy a tenner on – bravely I think, but the wife went with Eric’s second option 😂.
    Do I go with Almiron to score though?! 🤔


  3. England ahead in the cricket so hopefully my powers of prediction are waning since I went for the Aussies.

    I haven’t looked up many previews but I think Liverpool haven’t lost at home for something like 2 years.


  4. I read Olly’s interview with the Scouse fan and I have to say I agree with just about everything he said. This might be clutching at a whole bale of straws, but maybe he is getting overconfident. Nah, I really can’t see us getting anything out of this but there is not much worse than a smug scouser – I refer you again to Stan Boardman.


  5. And in news for Sharpy to try to get his tenner that he bet on us back. Pogba, Shaw and Martial are all out. Normally that wouldn’t be that much of a problem for Man U as they haven’t really played well. But their backups are worse.


  6. And, isn’t Owen a pundit for BT? That should be interesting – unlike Monotone Mike himself unless he is writing about stuff that happened 15 years ago 🙂 As if the mandatory Scouser pundit quota was not filled with Mikey I think you have McManamanamanaman as well. He commentated over here in the US for couple of years and I had to turn the sound down to protect my telly from having a shoe thrown at it. Another high pitched scouse whine.

    I suppose since nobody has BT you wont have to hear those 2.


  7. I hadn’t really thought about it before but against any other team this game at The Oval would be given a lot of importance. A chance to level a series where we have been outbowled for the most part. I sort of blame the pundits because they are placing so much emphasis on The Ashes that they are missing the fact that there is still a series to be decided.

    Is Smith on for the highest average ever in a 5 match series? As of now it is 125. Yes, I know he has only played 4 of them, but still.


  8. I will be watching it on BT, I have it Eric 😉
    Not a hope in hell will we beat them at their place sadly.

    Gutted Sean is out, i like him and Hayden together .
    Ah well, HWTL .


  9. We obvioulsy have less chanc e with Shelvey in midfield as he doesn’t work as hard as Longstaff and is often out of position. It’s going to be a hard, long day!


  10. Pity about Sean. Shelvey’s too slow and the other option is the ineffective Ki. I’d throw young Matty in. It’s not like we’ll get anything anyway.


  11. Kimtoon: I might watch the build up and skip the game 🙂 I am awake to watch the cricket, then NUFC. Both have the potential to go sideways. I will start watching NUFC but if we are 2 or 3 down at half time I might avert my eyes, read the reviews and see if I want to watch some more after I have recorded it.

    Based on our record at Anfield and Liverpool’s start this looks like a slaughter and I have to admit to being very apprehensive. The one saving grace is how we played them at SJP. Hopefully, Brucie has been showing videos of that all week.

    Hope Bruce has the balls to give Shelvey the quick hook if we are suffering. Although we don’t have many alternatives. I like Jonjo but the pace in this Liverpool team may be his worst nightmare.


  12. And this fixture computer has fcked us again. You spend 2 weeks of the bloody international break wishing there was real football and then end up going to the hardest place to play in the PL. Welcome back. Then I think we have Man U away on Boxing Day. Thanks again PL.


  13. Owen is NOT a pundit today. I think BT missed a trick there.

    Pundits are Jermaine “talks a better game than he played” Jenas and Joe Cole. Why Joe Cole?


  14. I look at our bench and it’s just so woefully short in attacking options. It certainly won’t be an attacking change from the bench that wins it for us…


  15. Nice to see young Matty on the bench. I hope he gets a chance today. Nothing to lose really. 8 can only see a win for the scousers today unfortunately, 2-0 to the Pool. .. but hope I’m wrong. 😳😁


  16. The good thing about an early goal is that it basically gives us something to hold on to but also it means Liverpool have to score two to win. It’s still likely but gives us a chance.


  17. What a bullet with his right foot 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻.

    We’ve started quite well here, and Almiron and Atsu seem to be playing more narrowly than wingers which is working well – they are hunting the ball down together – but playing narrow is giving Jetro that space out wide.

    Only 15mins but I’ve been impressed so far – they haven’t parked the bus at all.


  18. What I don’t understand about VAR is that it seems only to be used to disallow goals. The linesman gave Joelington off side and it was very close. It’s just odd. The lino just flagged and that was that.


  19. Stuart79:
    What I don’t understand about VAR is that it seems only to be used to disallow goals. The linesman gave Joelington off side and it was very close. It’s just odd. The lino just flagged and that was that.

    Yeah, odd


  20. It’s starting to get a bit busy in our half now. Pressure building. Let’s hope we get to half time 1 up. I reckon if they score they’ll score another quickly after.

    Was that a pen? Where’s VAR?


  21. Sharpy17:
    Good finish but Shelvey stood watching there

    Well that’s what he does mate, it’s my big bug bare with him , that and the walk with hands on hip like he’s spent . 🙄


  22. Well it was good up to a point… stupid 2 goals to give away, especially the second one. 😡😡. Still only 1 goal in it though.

    Let’s see how the second half goes.


  23. Well dare I say it, but that was an enjoyable watch. A good mix of defending and pressing. I think Shelvey could have done more in the 1st – but it was a good finish.

    The 2nd – was the first thing Dubravka had to do in the 1st half and c0cked it right up.

    I think considering we are at Anfield where Lpool are a real force. The lads are doing well.


  24. Stuart79:
    I’ve not been impressed with Kraft. He should stick to making chocolate

    Agree. I’ve said previously that Manquillo is the better RB and that is saying something.


  25. That’s the second outrageous chance Kraft has had in two games and he’s not just missed them he’s absolutely missed them by a million miles. Owen Farrell would be happy with the efforts.


  26. That Kraft miss is as bad as Dubravka mistake imo. We won’t get many chances like that today!!

    Good save from Dub from TAA


  27. Sometimes all you can do is 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    Outrageous skill from Firmino. Schar slip didn’t help and he may have stopped the goal – but brilliant from Firmino


  28. Really don’t think we’ve done too badly today. We made a couple of mistakes that gifted them goals, but think we played ok.

    The obvious big difference between the 2 teams is in the final 3rd.

    It would have been interesting to see how the game would have gone if Origi stayed on – Firmino defo made them so much better.


  29. Well I suppose it was too good to last… good match though, as they usually share between us. Krafth is poor so far. If he’d been able to score that chance it could’ve made quite a difference. Oh well.


  30. Not a bad result at Anfield against a very good team. I just wish we could move forward in numbers and at speed as we do going back to defend. We really need to give Joelinton more support.


  31. Dubai Toon:
    Well I suppose it was too good to last… good match though, as they usually share between us. Krafth is poor so far. If he’d been able to score that chance it could’ve made quite a difference. Oh well.

    Dubai – Kraft should have at least hit the target with that chance. I got told off by the boy for my bad language after that miss 🤬🤭.

    Typically BT Sports going with Lpool started slow and were off the boil a bit after the break. They struggled to break us down coz we sat in – I’ve turned off to watch the cricket.
    It really annoys me that they can’t give the other team credit – it has to be that Pool or City struggled, and not the other team played well.

    Well I thought we did pretty well considering the opposition. A couple of silly mistakes, but we give it a good go.


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