Newcastle vs Liverpool is always a spectacle. If you go back 20 years then this was a fixture that set the Premier League on fire. In fact, these two teams played in a game that has gone down as one of the best Premier League games in history. Back then, Liverpool beat Newcastle 4-3, with Stan Collymore slamming in the winner in the final seconds of the game. This time around, they are not as evenly matched, Liverpool are not the underdogs and we probably won’t see a similar score.
Still, we should be in for a fun game nonetheless, After all, whenever you bring together two teams that have such a passionate history and rivalry, there will always be fireworks.
Newcastle have had an on-and-off season so far. They started very poorly and it was evident from the outset that they had big problems. They then turned things around, won a few games in a row and managed to move into the top 5, which few people expected. This was then followed by a disappointing display against Brighton, a game that they lost 1-0.
It’s fair to say that they have an issue with consistency. They do have enough good players in the squad to be able to stay in the Premier League this season and to make a good show of it throughout. But until they can find consistency and start to make it work all of the time, they will continue to have problems.
I think they need to drop Joselu and play Gayle. He’s a completely different player and the fact that he’s not the big number 9 is the reason he has started from the bench. But he has a better eye for goal and will score many more goals than Joselu. It’s true that he won’t be able to knock as many balls down for the attacking midfielders and he won’t be as big of a threat from set pieces, but he’s a better fit and a better player.
Ayoze is a big threat as well, but his problem is that he’s not always on it. If he’s in form then it strengthens the entire team, if he’s not then they suffer. There are decent players throughout the squad and they have the potential to be a great team if they can gel, but at the same time there are many players there that are only Championship quality.
Coutinho is back, the saga is over and before long it will be like it never existed. Well, that’s what Liverpool fans are hoping anyway, but the truth is he will probably be sold in the January transfer window, netting them about the same amount of money that they rejected last time.
He makes a big difference to this Liverpool squad. They are an all-out attacking team and while they do have flaws, they are in defense. They actually remind me of the Newcastle team of the mid-90s, which was the heyday of football for me as Newcastle supporter. They were all-out attacking, with even the defenders getting in on the act (anyone remember central defender Philippe Albert’s chip over Peter Schmeichel?). The motto was, “if they score one, we’ll score two”.
The problem is, it was more effective back then than it is now. The Premier League is much more defensive, with managers like Mourinho changing things forever. It can be difficult to break teams down and if you are constantly leaving yourself exposed then you’ll drop points all over. Liverpool are good to watch and I always look forward to them playing, but they need to start mending the holes in their defense if they are going to be real title challengers.
This is a tough one for me. As a Newcastle fan you could say I am a little biased, but it also means I know the ins and outs of this Newcastle team and because I have watched Liverpool closely this season, keen to see how they develop, I also have a good idea of how they will shape up.
This game will be close, I don’t think there is much doubt there. I think that both of them will get on the scoresheet but that the home team will have a harder time of it. Both struggle to convert chances into goals because they don’t have in-form goalscorer. There will likely be half a dozen changes for every goal we see in this game, but we should still see at least three of these.
It is a game that will be decided in a few brief moments. I can see Newcastle threatening from set pieces and getting a goal that way, before Liverpool show their class and run away with it in the second half. For me, 1-3 is the likeliest scoreline, but the best bet is for Liverpool on the -1 handicap.
Betting Tip: Liverpool -1, 3.00 @ SkyBet