Newcastle vs Liverpool
| Wednesday, December 30th |
Premier League | St. James’ Park
8PM BST /3PM EST
After failing to capitalise on their rivals’s stumbles with a dismal home draw with Sam Allardyce’s West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, Liverpool will look to make things right on their trip to Tyneside tomorrow night to take on Newcastle.
Despite producing some of the least inspiring football in the league, the Magpies’ points haul hasn’t been as disastrous as many expected when they replaced Rafa Benitez with the excessive-headed Steve Bruce last season. A 13th-place finish has been followed up with similar results this year, and although they currently sit 15th, the Geordies are on pace to finish with more points than they did last year.
Investing in his club for once, Mike Ashley brought in Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser from relegated Bournemouth, as well as former Liverpool target Jamal Lewis from Norwich, and the end result has been, if not particularly exciting — Wilson is the club’s top scorer with eight, accounting for half their goals — somewhat more robust defensively.
Entertainer Allan Saint-Maximin sadly misses out with an injury suffered back in November, while captain Jamaal Lascelles is recovering from Covid-19. Fraser, goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, and former Liverpool man Jonjo Shelvey are also unavailable.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino, Salah
With Joël Matip forced off against the Baggies at the weekend, all eyes will be on Liverpool’s centre-backs tomorrow, as Fabinho is likely to be joined by one of Rhys Williams, Nat Phillips, or Billy Koumetio, with the former likely the preferred option, despite a sub-par showing displaying his lack of pace last time out.
As the trip to Southampton is five days away, and will be followed by a meaningless FA Cup match against Aston Villa the subsequent Thursday, tomorrow’s clash is unlikely to see much in the way of rotation. As such, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are probable to start again.
In midfield, Naby Keïta has once again suffered a muscle injury, but James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri are back in contention, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was on the pitch at the weekend, and any one of the three featuring against Newcastle would not come as a surprise. Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum are almost certain to start, with Curtis Jones likely to miss out.
Up top, Diogo Jota remains unavailable, but Takumi Minamino could be recalled if one of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mané should be adjudged as less than 100% after 90 minutes at the weekend.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “.I cannot go into detail for the Newcastle game, but it will be another tough challenge, like all Newcastle games have always been”
Steve Bruce: “The criticism hurts but I hope to keep working hard to shut a few people up. The only way to do that is through results.”
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistant referees: Harry Lennard, Adrian Holmes
Fourth official: Lee Mason
VAR: Stuart Attwell, Stephen Child
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.