Newcastle Vs Liverpool - English Premier League - Saturday 4th May 19:45 - Match Preview
Liverpool reacquainted with a couple of old friends on Wednesday night but things didn't go as planned in Spain as Luis Suarez and Phillipe Couthino helped hand their former employers a brutal 3-0 defeat. Suarez opened the scoring in the Nou Camp before Lionel Messi added two more including a spectacular unstoppable freekick from range. The Reds will get their chance at mounting a glorious comeback at Anfield in the return leg but not before taking on another former Liverpool legend, a man who helped guide them to a sensational comeback from 3 goals down in the Champions League once before when they take on Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp's men will have to quickly forget about Suarez and Messi for a moment as they continue their pursuit for the Premier League title knowing victory here could see them move back out on top.
As well as losing the match on Wednesday Jurgen Klopp also lost Naby Keita 20 minutes into the game and the midfielder will remain out for the next 2 months meaning his season is now over. Roberto Firmino was a big loss to Liverpool up front and while he did come on from off the bench in the 2nd half it's likely he will remain out of the lineup on Saturday in hopes that he can be at 100% for the 2nd leg. Trent Alexander Arnold was another who was left out on Wednesday and it is likely he will make a return at right back in place of Joe Gomez, I foresee no other changes in defence. It is likely Wijnaldum will return to his more regular role in midfield after being utilised in the attack against Barca, he will most likely be joined by Jordan Henderson and Fabinho. Liverpool won't be short of firepower despite Firmino's absence with two out of the top three goalscorers in the league in Mo Salah and Sadio Mane with 21 and 20 goals this season. They will most likely be joined up front by Divock Origi but Klopp does have other options in Daniel Sturridge, Xerdan Shaqiri and the fit-again Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.
Rafa Benitez may be a favourite amongst Liverpool supporters and he may always have a place in his heart for the club however that doesn't mean he is going to make it easy for them and will be eager to continue his sides good form at St James Park on their final home game of the season. It's largely down to that home form where Newcastle have won 6 of their last 7 games which sees them 13th in the league and comfortably safe from the relegation dogfight with 2 games left to play. Benitez likes to set his side up to be difficult for teams to break down and you can be sure his side will make it tough for Liverpool's forwards to find spaces when they play, however, they do have an attacking edge too with the speed and skillfulness of top scorer Ayoze Perez who has discovered where the back of the net is and hit 11 goals in this season, they also have a really powerful strong ariel threat in striker Salomon Rondon who is extremely dangerous with his head and will likely be receiving balls in from the dangerous left foot of Matt Ritchie.
Manchester City do not play until Monday Night Football when they take on Leicester and so this is another chance for Liverpool to move back ahead of their rivals and pile on some pressure. It will not be easy though, Liverpool has in the past had problems when it comes to playing games following midweek games in Europe. So far they have managed to deal with competing in both competitions but as the season draws to its conclusion legs may begin to get a bit tired. It was a heavy defeat on Wednesday night, possibly even harder on the players considering they actually played quite a good game despite what the scoreline implies and who knows if they will have any impact on Saturday's performance.