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

The 2019/20 Premier League season has felt like it’s been dragging on for a whole host of reasons this year, however it finally comes to an end this Sunday.

In what will hopefully be our last game at St James’ Park under Mike Ashley’s ownership, the champions come to town a matter of days on from their trophy lift and wild celebrations at Anfield.

With that in mind, we’ll have to hope Klopp’s men are hungover and wearing their flip flops ahead of a well deserved summer holiday here, although recent performances have proved they can still blow you in third gear!

For us the game means very little, with us only able to finish 13th or 14th going into the final weekend of football, however Steve Bruce will be aware that a win would mean he’s surpassed Rafa Benitez’s best points tally (45 in 2018/19) in his first year in charge.

He’ll say it means nothing and a thing of the past, but you can be sure he’ll privately be keen to prove the doubters wrong with a victory on that front.

Predicted XI

(5-3-1-1): Dubravka – Manquillo, Hayden, Fernandez, Rose, Ritchie – Shelvey, Bentaleb, Almiron – Saint-Maximin – Gayle.

In goal, Dubravka will become one of few Premier League players not to have missed a minute all season. While ASM’s moments of magic have lit up our season, the Slovakian deserves our player of the year award for me.

At the back, we saw Krafth and Rose play either side of Fernandez at Brighton, but with the Swede a doubt and five of our six senior centre-backs remaining sidelines, it wouldn’t surprise me if Hayden slots in given the lack of options and likelihood that we start with five at the back against top opposition. Elsewhere, Fernandez could play in the centre and Rose continuing as a left-sided centre-back after doing a decent job in that unfamiliar role last time out.

A defence consisting of a midfielder, centre-back and a left-back, but Bruce’s pre-match comments suggested U-23 talent Kelland Watts won’t be thrown in for his Premier League debut against Salah, Mane and Firmino after ‘five months’ without football.

Manquillo seems likely to continue at right wing-back, with Yedlin’s time on Tyneside seemingly coming to an end, while Ritchie seems like our only option down the left should Bruce continue with his old system.

In midfield, I’ve noticed Bentaleb and Shelvey have been joined by Almiron at times over the past two games, with the Paraguayan seeming to drop in to form a three without the ball and spring forward when we regain possession.

Hayden is an option if Bruce feels he’s fit and finds a way of sorting out our injury ravaged defence without him, while Sean Longstaff is ‘touch and go’ after returning to training, however I’d imagine we’ll get one last look at our Schalke loanee alongside Shelvey and an energetic Almiron.

Ahead of that trio could well be Saint-Maximin – a player who seems to thrive more in a central role and our biggest weapon if we’re to hurt this Liverpool side in attack.

Then, last but not least, Gayle seems likely to lead the line again after scoring more goals since lockdown than Joelinton has all season.

His movement and energy has been one of the positives to take since football returned, with him improving in front of goal and giving the likes of Shelvey a real target to hit.

The Opposition

There’s not enough superlatives to describe just how good this Jurgen Klopp machine has been this season.

An unbelievable team with incredible drive, quality and consistency who’ve absolutely obliterated every team in their way this season.

In this section I usually pick out the ‘ones to watch’, but they all deserve a mention if we’re being honest. Allison has been that reliable presence they’ve lacked in the past, Van Dijk unbeatable at the back and an absolute man mountain, Alexander-Arnold an assist-king who’s offered more in attack than most Premier League strikers from right-back, Robertson tenacious and influential at both ends, a midfield full of energy, ideas and intensity and a devastating front three of Salah, Mane and Firmino who link up incredibly and score goals for fun.

Whether you love or loath them, this is one hell of a team!

Team news

Steve Bruce has confirmed that Emil Krafth is struggling with a ankle injury, but Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff are training again and in contention to return.

Federico Fernandez remains out only fit senior centre-back, with Jamaal Lascelles (ankle), Fabian Schar (shoulder), Ciaran Clark (ankle), Florian Lejeune (thigh) and Paul Dummett (ineligible) all out.

As a result, U-23 talent Kelland Watts should be in the squad again, however it remains to be seen if Bruce will hand him his Premier League debut.

Jurgen Klopp has no new injury worries, with captain and newly-crowned ‘Footballer of the Year’ Jordan Henderson and centre-back Joel Matip set to miss out once again.

Prediction

Liverpool were hammered at Man City the last time they played so soon after celebrating their title win, however it’s fair to say no one is expecting a repeat here – even if they do arrive to St James’ Park with sore heads and half an eye on their summer holidays.

They’ve been professional and a model of consistency all season, making a habit of winning games even when they’re well below their best, so we’ll have to be at it in all areas here to keep their attacking trio at bay AND somehow find a way past Virgil Van Dijk and Co at the other end.

It would be nice to end the season positively and sign off in style, but I’m struggle to see anything other than a win for the visitors here!

Prediction: Newcastle 0-2 Liverpool

HWTL!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & 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.

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

  1. I see we’ve managed to churn out 5 new articles full of ads today – yet no fix to the issues raised – no update to the fix and instead the pop up ad has managed to re-surface.

    Just wonder – was the response you got to raising the issue ‘shut your mouth and gets some articles up’ or did they bother to reply at all.

    Still don’t hold you accountable – but seriously question who you are writing for – and why you keep doing it if you’re not getting paid.

    This is the first time I’ve been on in days, and notice the posts on previous articles are well down. It’s driving people off the site – it’s your articles they stop reading and commenting on. I won’t be back on again after this post until it’s fixed.

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  2. I see Callum Roberts scored again for Notts County yesterday in their successful semifinal playoff. County supporters call him the Geordie Messi. Another one Benitez inexplicably let go along with Mbemba and Mbabu. Yet he persisted with players like Atsu and Kenedy. As much as I admired Benitez many of his decisions I found puzzling. Water under the bridge now. Bruce has shown recently that he is no better at bringing on new talent. He has had plenty of opportunity in recent games but has preferred to overplay some players building up the injury list. For years now we have failed to encourage the youngsters and have preferred to stick with brought in players no matter how badly they play. I see no prospects for any of the reserves given our history. Hope we can get a manager who will not be afraid To look at all NUFC players.

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  3. Can’t see anything other than a loss today sadly. I suppose there’s a chance Klopp plays a few youngsters or the first team have their flip flops on. There’s nowt major hanging on this game either way.
    More than anything my desire is for the PL to get their act together and remove us from limbo before we suffer next season.
    No takeover and i may well just step back as it will become far too toxic to enjoy and that’s sad to say.
    Likewise this blog could do with some injection of enthusiasm from it’s owners by way of repairing it. It’s totally unfair on you Olly, that you are turning out articles that few are reading or commenting on. This blog had massive following once upon a time and if we get took over it’s in the interest of the blog owners to sort it and then enjoy the increase in traffic .
    Then again maybe they are just happy for quick clicks and no input ?
    Sad if that’s the case and i don’t particularly want to find an alternative site to converse on after all these years of getting to know so many on here.

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  4. Like most, I dont expect a win but we did give Liverpool a good game in the same fixture last year where they also had pretty much the same team. They have 96 points with 1 game to go and finished on 97 last year so for all the fanfare they are what they were.

    I watched the Man City game and the scoreline was misleading. Liverpool could easily have been 2 nil up in the 1st 15 minutes and it could have finished 6-4. It was one of those games where everything went right for the winning team. Liverpool were certainly not “battered” even though the score suggests they were.

    Also, not sure any of our team would like 11 men to “blow you in third gear” today. I know you meant “blow you away” Olly.

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  5. Well I’m also expecting defeat today, but as there is nothing to play for for either side, it could surprise us. Let’s see. This takeover really needs to happen soon though so we can go into the transfer period with some clarity or we are totally screwed next season…

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  6. Toon Toon:
    Interesting team… Lazaro starts

    Only 1 centre half. Very attacking lineup.

    Liverpool not playing any of their usual front 3.

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  7. Toon Toon: dont you think what Bruce has done with Lazaro is bizarre. He did well against Bournemouth and then Bruce brings him on for like 6 minutes in subsequent games when we had nothing to play for.

    Also, Matty is gone. Look at the subs, half fit Sean and Hayden.

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  8. How many guards of honour can there possibly be. Starting to feel like having 7 stag do’s. it gets stale after a while.

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  9. Eric Sykes:
    Toon Toon: dont you think what Bruce has done with Lazaro is bizarre. He did well against Bournemouth and then Bruce brings him on for like 6 minutes in subsequent games when we had nothing to play for.

    Also, Matty is gone. Look at the subs, half fit Sean and Hayden.

    Aye mate, I thought Lazaro did well and was then forgotten… id like to see our two youngsters getting time.
    1-0 so quickly, incredible… TV missed it.. they were showing replay of foul and suddenly goal… 😂😂

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  10. Watford owners must be feeling a bit dumb. Goals for since sacking Pearson zero. Goals against 7.

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  11. kimtoon:
    normal service resumed
    1.1

    Dont know what Rose was doing for their goal. Van Dyk put that header in the only place Dubravka couldnt get it but I am sure some fans will blame him anyway.

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  12. Well, cannot really complain about that first half… mostly Liverpool after our very early goal … but look at Liverpool’s bench… 😳.

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  13. Don’t want Rose or Bentelab signed, but i can see it happening under Jabba and Bruce.
    Miggy seems to have regressed under Bruce too 🙁

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  14. So Gayle has 4 goals since the restart. Makes you wonder what he might have done with a decent run of games instead of Joelinton. I really dont like trashing NUFC players but it becomes more obvious with each game that Joelinton brought nothing to the team. He made it worse because our only tactic seemed to be knock it long to the big man to hold up when he had no support at all.

    I am not letting Brucie off the hook for how we played up until Southampton.

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  15. They are showing a montage of Van Dyk at halftime here. He scored exactly the same bloody goal against Brighton as he did today. He must practice that looping header.

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  16. Arse 3 .2 watford now
    hammers v villa still 0.0
    Bournemouth winning 2.1

    Man u just scored so looks like CL for them

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  17. Another penalty for Man U. That is 20 in the PL.

    Maybe it was a penalty but VAR can intervene only if there is a clear and obvious error. That doesnt rule out the initial bias by the Ref. They just get so many it is not a coincidence. Howard Webb used to be known as their 12th man.

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  18. Eric Sykes:
    Another penalty for Man U. That is 20 in the PL.

    Maybe it was a penalty but VAR can intervene only if there is a clear and obvious error. That doesnt rule out the initial bias by the Ref. They just get so many it is not a coincidence. Howard Webb used to be known as their 12th man.

    Aye it stinks

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  19. B/mouth 3.1 up now, agony for their fans listening to villa game

    C’mon hammers you dozy gets, wtf have villa done to survive,

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  20. Bielsa’s contract expires end of season, what about him if we are taken over ? Leeds can have Bruce in exchange 😉

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  21. Gutted
    couldn’t even get rid of one of them minging clubs.

    Hate the thought that we might go down and them two stay up next season.

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  22. Watching Everton highlights. Yet another mistake by Pickford leading to a goal. I think Ancelotti will get a new keeper. Time for a change at England. Even Southgate must see these errors say it is time for Pope. I will be watching for the white smoke at the Vatican.

    I think Pickford was overrated all along. Courtois even said so and you dont often see footballers criticising other players.

    Dont think Dean Smith should have too much to be happy about either. He will be sacked. You dont spend 140 million to only be safe on the last day.

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  23. Sorry to go on about it but that’s me done with Joelinton. He had 2 opportunities to change the game. 1st he underhits a pass on the edge of their penalty box then he lets Van Dyk nick the ball off him when he is through. The commentator over here said it was great play by Van Dyk. Maybe so, but a better player would have felt the coverage and shot or taken another touch.

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  24. I dont usually do ratings but this game was a bit of a microcosm of our season where the players mostly showed what they are.

    Dubravka – 6 one great save and I dont really think he was at fault for their goals.

    Rose – 3, slow, dont know what he was doing for the first goal.

    Fernandez – 8, had a couple of bad games recently but played well.

    Manquillo – 6, Steady

    Lazaro – 7, I thought he did well even though he is not a wingback. Perhaps could have got closer to Mane but that was a great finish that more often than not goes wide.

    Watt – 6, didnt really notice him

    Longstaff – 6, was neat and tidy

    Shelvey – 7, made some good passes and that free kick to Gayle was super smart thinking.

    Bentaleb – 2, was he on the pitch. Return to sender.

    Ritchie – 6, did OK.

    Almiron – 5, made a few bad decisions and seems to have gone off the boil.

    Gayle – 7, took his goal well and was aware enough to make that run.

    Carroll – 2, did f-all. Why did we extend his contract?

    Joelinton – 1, I really wanted him to prove me wrong but he was shyte as usual.

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