Newcastle United host Liverpool at St James’ Park on Saturday (12:45 BST, live on BT Sport 1) hoping for three points to push on after a mixed start to the season.
The Magpies are 11th in the table with 10 points from three wins, one draw and three defeats. After two consecutive losses, they then performed well in a 2-1 victory away to Cardiff in their last match before the international break.
Newcastle played their hosts off the park in the first half of that match, with Yohan Cabaye utilising the full breadth of his extensive passing range to dictate play from the centre of the pitch. The French midfielder missed over 30% of the club’s league matches due to injury last season and Pardew will be glad to have him back fit and in form.
Further forward, another Frenchman, Loic Remy, has hit the ground running following his loan move from Queens Park Rangers and he scored two brilliantly taken goals against Cardiff. Remy has scored five times in five appearances so far and will need to continue that run of form in order to make up for the club’s problems at the other end of the pitch.
Newcastle’s average shots conceded per match is among the lowest in the league, but that does not tell the whole story. Ten of the 12 goals they have conceded so far this season have been from inside the penalty area and they consistently concede shots on goal in areas that are, statistically speaking, most likely to yield goals for their opponents.
Alan Pardew has employed a relatively consistent back four, with Mathieu Debuchy, Fabricio Coloccini, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Davide Santon appearing together in five of the club’s seven matches to date. That consistency of selection has not produced coherence, however, with Coloccini and Yanga-Mbiwa failing to form an effective partnership in the centre.
Coloccini picked up a calf strain while on international duty with Argentina this past week and is considered an injury doubt for this match. Stephen Taylor has not played since his disastrous performance against Manchester City on the first day of the season, but could be in contention after recovering from a hamstring problem. If not, Mike Williamson will start.
Liverpool have made an excellent start to the season and currently sit joint top with Arsenal on 16 points from five wins, one draw and one defeat. Three consecutive 1-0 victories in the early weeks of the campaign have, via defeat at home to Southampton, given way to a more expansive style in recent matches.
With first choice right back Glen Johnson sidelined by injury, Brendan Rodgers utilised a 3-4-1-2 formation in consecutive 3-1 victories, away to Sunderland and at home to Crystal Palace, in the build up to the international break. Victor Moses occupied an unfamiliar attacking midfield role behind Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez (pictured above) up front.
Sturridge was in fine fettle prior to Suarez’s return from suspension, but their partnership has taken Liverpool’s attacking menace to another level, with the pair scoring five of the six goals in the recent victories. When Philippe Coutinho returns from injury, Liverpool will be able to lay claim to one of the most talented forward lines in the Premier League.
There were, however, signs in the second half of the win over Palace that Liverpool’s players are not yet fully comfortable with their three-man defensive set up. The away side created some good opportunities, with only a mix of poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Simon Mignolet (who has made numerous important saves already this season) keeping their total to one.
Rodgers will be without Coutinho for the trip to St James’ Park, with the Brazilian midfielder still recovering from the shoulder injury that has sidelined him since mid-September. Glen Johnson is back in training after six weeks out with an ankle injury, but remains a doubt for Saturday’s match, alongside Aly Cissokho and Joe Allen.
Newcastle United vs Liverpool Betting Tips Advice
Liverpool thrashed Newcastle 6-0 in last season’s equivalent fixture and have won three of the last five matches between the sides at St James’ Park. Liverpool have won three to Newcastle’s one in the last five meetings at all venues.
Newcastle had the fourth worst defensive record in the league last season and there has been little improvement this time around, with 12 goals conceded in their seven matches. Liverpool have one of the most potent strike partnerships in the league and it is difficult to imagine the home side being able to deal with their combined pace and trickery.
- Back Liverpool to win @ best odds of 9/10 with Ladbrokes.
- Eight of the last 10 matches between these sides have ended with three or more goals, both sides have in-form forwards and both defences are, to varying degrees, breachable. With this in mind, back over 2.5 goals at 8/11 with Ladbrokes.