Seven more matches left in the Premier League season, and, regardless of what does or doesn't happen with Liverpool's increasingly unlikely top four challenge, it's critical that Brendan Rodgers' squad finish strong. The manager's future is--or at least should be--plenty secure, but with the wind taken out of their sails with consecutive losses to Manchester United and Arsenal, rebounding to see out the season is important for building some sort of momentum into the summer and next preseason.
They should expect to get off on the right foot tomorrow, when a struggling Newcastle side visit Anfield. They're capable of causing problems, but they're in the same sort of purgatory that's become so familiar in recent seasons--too far off the European spots to make a challenge, too far off the relegation spots to be bothered. It's evident in their recent results, with only two wins in 2015 and four losses out of their last five, having conceded eight goals in their last two away matches.
Interim boss John Carver has injuries to worry about as well, with Rolando Aarons, Siem De Jong, Paul Dummett, Cheick Tiote, Steven Taylor, Massadio Haidara all ruled out. In the 1-0 loss against Sunderland last time out, which literally forced Carver into hiding, Tim Krul in goal, Ryan Taylor, Michael Williamson, Jack Colback, and Daryl Janmaat across the back, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran and Jonas Gutierrez in midfield, and Ayoze Perez, Remy Cabella, and Samy Ameobi up front.
Johnson Toure Lovren Moreno
Brendan Rodgers will welcome Emre Can (suspension) and Jordon Ibe (knee injury) back into the squad, but both Martin Skrtel and Steven Gerrard serve the last of their three-match bans, while Adam Lallana will miss out again due to injury. Mario Balotelli will be a late decision because of injury, illness, and/or managerial indifference, while Jon Flanagan is healthy but likely not close to match fitness.
Both Can and Ibe are capable of making an impact here, but the former seems more likely to start given that his layoff was only one match. Ibe's been out for months and is an excellent player to bring off the bench late, though he could get a start depending on whether or not Rodgers goes back to the 3-4-2-1. That will dictate much of who features, with Can, Glen Johnson, and Kolo Toure all in the running for a spot at the back, with Ibe, Markovic, and Alberto Moreno options if the manager goes with wingbacks.
What seems certain is that each of Lucas, Jordan Henderson, and Joe Allen will feature in the midfield, with Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, and Daniel Sturridge in attack. How they're lined up will be interesting to see; Coutinho and Sterling started wide at Blackburn, but the Brazilian tucked in regularly as he looked to link play. Ibe and Markovic provide options here as well, with Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini on the bench.
Kickoff is set for 8:00PM BST/3:00PM EST on Monday, with Sky Sports 1 providing coverage in the UK and NBCSN airing the match in the US. Our coverage will continue with any breaking team news, team sheets when they’re released, and live coverage tomorrow including full viewing options and post-match reactions. If you haven’t already, sign up for an SB Nation account and join us for it.