Liverpool hope to keep up their Champions League chase when Newcastle visit Anfield
Anfield plays host to Liverpool for the first time since the Super League was launched and then scrapped on Saturday, as Newcastle United visit Merseyside looking to cement their place in the Premier League next season.
Liverpool’s last game came on Monday night as they drew with Leeds at Elland Road, something which didn’t stop fans protesting outside Anfield anyway. Saturday should see more of the same, as fans remain furious with owners Fenway Sports Group and John Henry.
If there’s another club in the land that know all about owners that won’t leave, it’s Newcastle United. Mike Ashley’s 14-year tenure has seen two relegations and had it not been for their recent form, could have resulted in a third this season.
But a recent upturn in form from Steve Bruce’s side have eased fears of the drop, thanks to a return of seven points from their last three games. Wins over Burnley and West Ham may just be enough to escape the drop, but three more points to take them onto 38 would be greatly received.
In previous years, three points at Anfield would be a rare occurrence, but Jurgen Klopp’s side have lost six games on their own patch this season, resulting in a failed Premier League title defence.
Attention now turns to attempting to qualify for the Champions League, and they’ll go fourth with a win over Newcastle, with Chelsea in action later on Saturday afternoon.
Klopp still has injury worries to contend with, with as many as seven set to miss this one. Long-term injuries to Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil Van Dijk mean Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips have formed a centre-back pairing recently, but the academy graduate is a doubt with a hamstring injury. Kabak’s parent club Schalke 04 were relegated last weekend, so he’ll be hoping to do enough in the final few games to earn a permanent move.
Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi are also missing for Liverpool, but Curtis Jones is back from a muscle issue which saw him rested for the Leeds game.
Newcastle’s recent improvement has been largely down to the return of Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson. The French winger put in match-winning displays against Burnley and West Ham, and should start again at Anfield. Wilson hasn’t started since returning as a sub at Turf Moor, but could here.
Ryan Fraser has undergone surgery on a groin problem and is set for a month out, and joins the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar, Isaac Hayden on the sidelines. Karl Darlow had an operation on his knee this week and will miss the next three weeks at least.
If Newcastle can inflict more home misery on Liverpool with a win, they’ll go up to 13th in the table, which is about as high as they’ve been in around five months. As mentioned, Liverpool will be in a stronger position in the top four race if they win, with Chelsea playing West Ham this weekend.
Liverpool take on Newcastle United on Saturday, April 25th. Kick-off is at 12.30pm.