I’d make just one change from the side that drew with Bournemouth at the weekend and it’s an enforced one, with Merino coming in for Shelvey.
Although we capitulated in the last 10 minutes at Bournemouth, I see no reason why Rafa shouldn’t stick with the side that has generally done so well over the last two games.
Merino in for Shelvey is a relatively like for like replacement, however Merino’s superior defensive traits and ability to break with the ball could actually serve us well in this one. That being said, he hasn’t looked quite the same since his back injury several months ago, so here’s hoping he can put in a big display. We’ll need him to.
It’ll be a big game for Perez too. He was a little too cheap on the ball at Bournemouth and must be far more cute in possession and far less wasteful when big chances arise. There’s a hope that Ritchie and Kenedy will get some joy out wide, with Liverpool’s full-backs tending to bomb forward.
Predicted NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1) – Dubravka– Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett – Diame, Merino – Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy– Gayle
Aside from the obvious trio of Salah, Mane and Firmino, here’s a few ones to watch tomorrow:
Andrew Robertson – The left-back is a bundle of energy and a player who plays with impressive intensity at both ends of the pitch.
Virgil Van Dijk – The £75m centre-back is an impressive athlete and a player who brings some much needed presence to their back line. He’s one to watch when we’re defending set pieces.
Loris Karius – The Liverpool goalkeeper’s form has picked up, however he’s still got to be seen as one of the few a weaknesses in Klopp’s side. Firing early shots at him and putting balls into the box could help unsettle him.
Predicted Liverpool XI – (4-3-3) – Karius – Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson – Can, Henderson, Chamberlain – Salah, Firmino, Mane.
For an inside look into this weekend’s opponents, take a look at the latest edition of the ‘Opposition Opinion’ . A great insight into this weekend’s opponents.
Newcastle – 15th (29 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 1 / Drawn: 3 / Lost: 1
Liverpool – 3rd (57 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 3 / Drawn: 1 / Lost: 1
Benitez has confirmed that Jonjo Shelvey will miss out with a knee problem, whilst Islam Slimani remains on the sidelines following last week’s injury setback.
On the plus side, Dwight Gayle has been passed fit after complaining about a tight hamstring in the 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.
For Jurgen Klopp, Jordan Henderson could return, however ex-Mag Gini Wijnaldum looks set to miss out through ilness.
This along with Spurs away may be seen as damage limitation fixtures to an extent, however it is possible for us to come away with a result here.
They have their tails up, putting 4 past West Ham in their most recent home game, but they can be got at. Their defence is far from impregnable and their goalkeeper is unpredictable, however it’ll require a huge team effort if we’re to keep the likes of Salah, Mane and Firmino quiet.
If we can go in at the break level or be down by just the one goal in the latter stages then a point is possible, but it’s hard to envisage them not outscoring us..
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle
Howay the lads!