Liverpool go into their fifth game in 14 days buoyed by reaching the Capital One Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday night with a 2-1 win over Swansea City.
As well as securing victory, there were confidence-boosting goals for summer signings Mario Balotelli and Dejan Lovren, both of whom have come in for criticism since their big money moves.
Saturday’s opponents Newcastle United joined them in the last eight by shocking reigning Premier League champions Manchester City with a 2-0 win at the Etihad.
The result, coupled with back-to-back league wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City, has helped relieve the pressure on under-fire Magpies manager Alan Pardew.
The Geordies are up to 14th in the standings while Liverpool slipped a couple of places to 7th after last weekend’s stalemate with Hull City.
Kop boss Brendan Rodgers: “If you can get a run of victories, that can move you forward.
“I think the division as a whole is tight. If you can get a sequence of results and get momentum, that’s very important. Where they’re at now, on the back of three wins, they have got nice momentum.
“But we’re coming into the game with big confidence. We had an excellent result the other night.”
Pardew: “I’ve had some good games against Liverpool since I’ve been manager here and we’ve more than held our own.
“I’m pretty confident I know what Liverpool will do, I’m pretty confident I know what Brendan’s side is.
“I know him well enough to know how he’ll come and play but, for us, we can surprise them because one thing’s for sure, Brendan won’t know my team.”
Newcastle United Team News:
Combative midfielder Cheick Tiote is ruled out with a calf injury while striker Papiss Cisse (knee) and defender Mike Williamson (muscle) are doubts. Italian full-back Davide Santon and Dutch forward Siem de Jong are also missing due to knee and thigh injuries respectively. Selection wise, a number of players are pushing for places after impressing in midweek but Pardew is likely to revert to the side that won at White Hart Lane on Sunday, particularly if Cisse remains unavailable.
Krul, Janmaat, Taylor, Coloccini, Dummett, Anita, Colback, Obertan, Sissoko, Gouffran, Pérez
Player to watch: Moussa Sissoko
The talented Frenchman produced a delightful finish against City on Wednesday night to wrap up a famous victory. Surprisingly, for a player blessed with impressive technique and who takes up excellent attacking positions, it was his first goal of the season and only a seventh in 68 appearances for The Geordies. The hard-working midfielder/winger is a key component in Pardew’s side and has the ability to be a decisive factor in any game.
Liverpool Team News:
A knee injury will prevent former Newcastle left-back Jose Enrique from featuring against his old side. The Spaniard joins Daniel Sturridge (calf), Mamadou Sakho (thigh), Jon Flanagan (knee) and Suso (groin) on the sidelines. After an impressive showing against Swansea, forgotten man Fabio Borini could retain his place and form an all-Italian forward line with Balotelli. Elsewhere, defenders Martin Skrtel and Alberto Moreno, plus captain Steven Gerrard and teenage star Raheem Sterling, are all likely to be restored to the starting line-up after sitting out the cup fixture.
Mignolet, Manquillo, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno, Gerrard (c), Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Borini, Balotelli.
Player to watch: Mario Balotelli
The strike against Swansea isn’t going to win any Goal of the Season competitions but it could be crucial in both Liverpool’s aspirations and those of their maverick forward. Balotelli will always have his detractors but most will accept he is better than the present return of two goals in twelve appearances suggests. A first Premier League goal for his new club on Saturday will be very welcome as he looks to repay the faith shown in him by Rodgers.
Match Facts & Stats
? Liverpool and Newcastle have met 159 times in their respective histories and the Reds hold the upper hand overall with 77 wins to 43 and 39 draws. Liverpool have scored a total of 281 goals compared to a tally of 196 for the Geordies.
? There has not been a single goalless draw between these sides in their 40 Premier League meetings. The last time a fixture between the two ended 0-0 was in February 1974.
? It is almost a year to the day that The Reds last failed to score away from home in the league – a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on 2 November.
? Their clean sheet against Hull was a first in six league matches and only their second in their last 19 outings.
? Newcastle have had five players sent off in the last four encounters, not winning any (D2, L2).
? Pardew’s side have lost just two of their last eight Premier League matches (W2, D4) and only Manchester City have beaten them in the previous five at St James’ Park (W2, D2).
? Balotelli has scored just one goal in his last 23 Premier League appearances.
Andre Marriner is the official appointed to oversee this contest. The West Midlands based whistle blower has taken charge of seven games so far this season, showing 25 yellow cards and 1 red. This will be the first time the 43-year-old has overseen a game involving Liverpool this term. Marriner has been a part of the Select Group of Referees who oversee Premier League fixtures since 2005 and joined FIFA’s list for international and European games in 2009.
I’d normally be very confident going into a game against Newcastle but having watched them in midweek this could prove a tougher assignment than expected. That said, their most notable wins have tended to come on the road when there is less onus on them to be positive. Under the pressure of an expectant home crowd they are more incline to buckle and under perform, often dramatically. Both sides have struggled for goals of late so it might not be the high-scoring encounter we have all become accustomed too, despite neither side filling fans with confidence at the back. It will be interesting to see what team Rodgers selects with the small matter of Real Madrid on Tuesday night but hopefully he will go for it and give Balotelli some much-needed support.
Vital Liverpool predicts a 1-0 LFC win
Liverpool – Champions League vs. Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday 5th November 2014, kick off 7.45pm GMT.
Newcastle United – Premier League vs. West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on Sunday 9th November 2014, kick off 1.30pm GMT.
So that’s what we think, how about you? Let us know your thoughts and predictions for the game below or vote in our poll to the right…
Click here to read our interview with Newcastle fans
Click here to read former Red Mark Lawrenson’s prediction
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