Liverpool vs Newcastle
| Thursday, December 16th |
Premier League | Anfield
8PM BST / 3PM EST
Although it is jam packed with matches, Liverpool have — on paper — a relatively forgiving schedule in December, largely facing mid-table teams with equally busy fixture list, but tomorrow night will offer something different; a legitimate bottom side.
Journalist dismemberer Mohammad Bin Salman — or the Saudi Public Investment Fund, an entirely separate entity according to the incorruptible Premier League — has yet to put his stamp on this Newcastle side with his infinite funds, and the addition of perhaps-but-not-quite-for-sure good manager Eddie Howe has not been enough to bring what has been the worst team in the league by most metrics thus far out of the relegation zone.
The geordies have only won at Anfield once in the Premier League era — all the way back in 1994 — and have in fact only mustered five draws there, so history is on Liverpool’s side. Reds fans will hope that continues to be the case tomorrow, and although the Magpies sport nearly a clean bill of health across the board — missing only Federico Fernandez and Paul Dummett for tomorrow’s clash — their lack of genuine quality in all parts of the pitch is a significant issue.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson; Mané, Jota, Salah
For Jürgen Klopp, squad health is improving, and although Nat Phillips remains unavailable with a fractured cheekbone, the rest of the back line is eligible. The expectation is that the gaffer goes with his favoured back four of Joël Matip and Virgil van Dijk flanked by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, but Ibrahima Konaté remains a dark horse.
Harvey Elliott is still a month or two away from playing, and while Curtis Jones was back on training pitch last night, he has not yet participated in full training, and as such is unlikely to involved tomorrow. Naby Keïta is back, though, and will challenge Jordan Henderson for the third spot in midfield alongside Thiago and Fabinho.
Up top, Divock Origi misses out, but Roberto Firmino is back in gull training following a hamstring strain, and is in contention to replace Diogo Jota alongside Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “Newcastle don’t have endless time to get out of their situation, so we expect them fighting for absolutely everything. We need the fans from the first second.”
Eddie Howe: “I would describe it as a great opportunity to face the best teams in the land, to see where we are, to see how much we can impose ourselves on them, and I think that’s how we have to look at it. These are fantastic occasions. Anfield on a night game will be a great atmosphere, a brilliant occasion, but we have to bring our A-game.”
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistant referees: Eddie Smart, Mark Scholes
Fourth official: Andy Madley
VAR: Simon Hooper, Peter Kirkup
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.