PREVIEW | Newcastle United v Liverpool (Premier League)

PÁDRAIG O’CALLAGHAN brings recent form, team news and predictions ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Newcastle United at St. James’ Park.

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Liverpool travel to St. James Park as they face Newcastle United for their final game of the 2019/20 season – the year the Reds finally overcame their hoodoo and lifted the league trophy once again.

Newcastle played Brighton in their final away game. The game finished 0-0 which meant that Steve Bruce can finish no higher than 13th in the table and can finish no lower than their current position 14th.

Liverpool finished off their home campaign in style as they defeated Chelsea 5-3 at Anfield in a performance which brought back memories of Klopp’s first couple of seasons in charge.

Recent form

Liverpool defeated Chelsea at Anfield to ensure they have now been unbeaten at home for three consecutive seasons. The team’s performance was quite hectic, they conceded three but scored five as they had to work hard for the three points.


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Naby Keïta thundered in Liverpool’s opener. The Guinean has impressed in recent weeks and now looks to be fully accustomed to Klopp’s style of play. Trent Alexander-Arnold doubled the home side’s lead with an excellent free-kick before Gini Wijnaldum added a third a couple of minutes later.

Olivier Giroud gave Chelsea hope as he tapped in after Alisson saved from Willian in first-half stoppage time, but Bobby Firmino scored his first Premier League goal of the season at Anfield as he headed in from Trent’s cross.

Christian Pulisic was subbed on and changed the game – he teed up Tammy Abraham almost immediately to give Chelsea hope, before the American scored a great solo goal to put his side within a goal of Champions League qualification.

But Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain secured the win following a Chelsea corner. Sadio Mané released Andy Robertson down the wing, Curtis Jones left the full-back’s cross for the Ox to smash beyond Kepa.

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Newcastle had to settle for a draw at the weekend at Brighton. The home side were dominant but the Magpies produced the better scoring chances. Brighton had chances of their own but Martin Dúbravka made a string of important saves to keep the scores level.

Leandro Trossard was the first to be denied by the ‘keeper, as his effort was tipped around the post after been set up by Neal Maupay’s cutback. Dwight Gayle and Miguel Almirón had opportunities to give Newcastle the lead but couldn’t take their chances.

Brighton then had their own opportunities to score, as Adam Webster’s strike from 25 yards was tipped over before Trossard blazed over when he had acres of space 10 yards out.

Andy Carroll could have secured the three points at the death – Ritchie’s corner evaded everyone including the ‘keeper but, with an open net to aim for albeit at a tight angle, the ex-Liverpool striker headed narrowly wide.

Team news

Steve Bruce is without his first-choice centre back partnership of Jamaal Lascelles and Fabian Schär.

Dúbravka will start in goal as he looks to record his 12th clean sheet a season, just one behind Alisson. On paper this stat looks impressive, but the Liverpool ‘keeper has played 9 games fewer.

Danny Rose and ex-Liverpool loanee Javier Manquillo are likely to start in the full-back positions, with Federico Fernández and Emil Krafth replacing the injured duo.

Jonjo Shelvey and Nabil Bentaleb are expected to start in central midfield with Allan Saint-Maximin and Matt Ritchie providing width.

Miguel Almirón will most likely support Joelinton in attack as the duo will look to improve on their low tally of just six goals between them this season.

After a couple of days partying following the trophy lift at Anfield some players may be given the match off with a handful of youth players given a chance in the Premier League.

Dejan Lovren’s move to Zenit St. Petersburg is all but confirmed so it is unlikely he will make an appearance. Due Joël Matip’s injury Joe Gomez will continue to partner Virgil van Dijk.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is set to take up his usual right-back berth after a man-of-the-match display against Chelsea, while Neco Williams could be given another chance at left-back with little riding on the game.

Naby Keïta was Liverpool’s best player against Chelsea and will surely keep his place in midfield for this one. He is likely to feature alongside Fabinho and Curtis Jones.

Klopp may be tempted to give Harvey Elliott another taste of Premier League football, though it is likely that at least two of the usual front three will start in order to maintain some consistency in the attacking line.

Prediction

The Liverpool squad will probably have partied long into the night after we lifted the Premier League at Anfield, some of them will be in no state of mind to play. I don’t think many people are too bothered about the outcome of the match – we had a goal this season and that goal was smashed.

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It will be good to see a couple of young players start from the first whistle which will give them valuable experience as they will be important squad players next season.

But at the same time a win would take Liverpool’s tally for the season to 99 – they would not be centurions, but bettering last year’s staggering total of 97 would be a new club record, while also showing a monumental example of consistency.

Newcastle will want to end the season on a high, but like Liverpool have little to play for in reality. The match probably won’t be that exciting compared to previous fixtures between the two sides but the home side will still make it tough for the Reds.

Predicted final score: Newcastle 1-1 Liverpool


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