Newcastle United host Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday aiming to deliver a fatal blow to their opponents’ title hopes.
The Reds head into the weekend one point off top spot with two games to play and anything less than a victory at St James’ Park would virtually end their chance of success.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are now in big danger of ending the season without a trophy following their 3-0 defeat at Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Liverpool are odds on favourites to win Saturday’s game, but they face a Newcastle side who have been in fine form at home in recent weeks.
Rafa Benitez’s side have won six of their last seven league matches on home soil to banish any fears of relegation from the top flight. Top scorer Ayoze Perez could be fit to start the after being forced off in the first-half during last week’s draw at Brighton & Hove Albion, while Jamaal Lascelles may also be back in contention.
However, Miguel Almiron, Sean Longstaff and Florian Lejeune have all been ruled out for the rest of the season.
Roberto Firmino could return to Liverpool’s starting XI after coming off the bench in midweek following a muscle issue, but Naby Keita’s groin problem is likely to end his campaign.
The two sides have met 47 times druing the Premier League era, with Liverpool recording 26 wins to Newcastle’s 11. There have been 10 draws.
Their most recent meeting came on Boxing Day, with the Reds easing to a 4-0 victory at Anfield courtesy of goals from Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho.
Newcastle are unbeaten in their last four home matches against Liverpool, winning two and drawing two of those games.
A victory on Saturday or in their final match at Fulham would see Newcastle surpass the 44-point tally they collected last term.
That would be a decent return for a side who didn’t win a league game until early November and whose season has once again been affected by issues of the field.
Benitez’s future remains up in the air, with the 59-year-old still stalling on signing a new contract as he “waits for answers” from Mike Ashley over the future direction of the club.
With pundits in Spain claiming that Benitez is wanted by numerous La Liga clubs, these are worrying times for Newcastle fans.
Three points on Saturday would hopefully strengthen Benitez’s case and possibly give Ashley no other option than to finally back his manager.
Newcastle United vs Liverpool Betting Tips
Newcastle are unbeaten in their last four home matches against Liverpool. Back them at odds of 7/1 to win (draw no bet) with BetUK.
Ayoze Perez has scored Newcastle’s last five goals. Bet on the forward with BetUK to score anytime at 17/4.
The two sides drew 1-1 the last time they met at St James’ Park. A repeat of that scoreline can be backed at 11/2.