The international break is finally over and Premier League football is all set to return, with us facing a daunting trip to Anfield in today’s early kick off.
Saint-Maximin, Ritchie, Carroll, Gayle, Lejeune and Yedlin were always likely to miss this one, but with Sean Longstaff also ruled out via a ‘freak’ ankle injury, there’ll be at least one change.
On the plus side, Almiron returned to Tyneside on Thursday and has been passed fit to play by Steve Bruce, meaning the following starting 11 looks likely to start ahead of today’s 12.30pm kick off:
(5-4-1): Dubravka – Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems – Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu – Joelinton.
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.
In midfield, you would think Jonjo Shelvey would slot in for the injured Sean Longstaff. The likes of Ki and Matty Longstaff are other options – and Bruce could be tempted to pack the midfield – but a return to a 5-3-2 seems unlikely to me given we were hammered at Norwich the last time that formation was used.
Up top, it sounds like Almiron is fine and fit to play after returning from his international excursions with Paraguay on Thursday, while Joelinton and Atsu seem nailed on based on their impressive recent form.