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10 key things to know ahead of Newcastle vs. Liverpool – the toughest test yet

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Liverpool travel to St James’ Park for one of the toughest tests of the year, and a match that will indicate where the Reds stand at this early point in the Premier League season.

Newcastle vs. Liverpool

Premier League (3) | St James’ Park
August 27, 2023 | 4.30pm (BST)


Jurgen Klopp‘s side did well to see the game out comfortably with 10 men against Bournemouth, and similar control will be needed if they are to take anything home on Sunday.

The first-half nerves need to be eradicated as Newcastle will be poised to pounce if Liverpool show signs of weakness in defence.

It will be an energised stadium with a great atmosphere and, should the Reds come away with a win, they will have put a real marker down to the rest of the league.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of Newcastle vs. Liverpool:

 

1. Mac Allister can play!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister is sent off after a high challenge on Bournemouth's Ryan Christie during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After being sent off last weekend, Alexis Mac Allister was set for a suspension.

Thankfully, the FA saw sense for once and overturned the decision, meaning the Argentine is clear to play for the Reds again.

It comes as a massive relief as, had the red card not been overturned, he could have potentially not played a Premier League game for another month.

 

2. Injury news

There are positive and negatives in the injury department this week.

Ibrahima Konate “is a doubt” with a muscle problem, according to Klopp. Meanwhile, Curtis Jones and Thiago will also miss out, with them both set to return on Monday.

The good news is that Trent Alexander-Arnold is fit following the knock he picked up last weekend.

 

3. LFC predicted lineup

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Liverpool's substitute Joe Gomez replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The big question is what will happen should Konate miss out?

Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are Klopp’s two other options in defence. Matip has admitted himself that he doesn’t suit playing in Liverpool’s new system, so Gomez could come in.

With his speed and composure on the ball, the 26-year-old should be able to play the position however, he doesn’t have much experience there yet.

With a slightly weakened backline, Klopp may start Wataru Endo to help out defensively. Cody Gakpo could return to the false-nine also.

Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Endo, Szoboszlai, Mac Allister; Salah, Gakpo, Diaz

 

4. On the subject of injuries…

Konate getting injured was almost inevitable really, and Klopp was asked if he has enough depth in defence.

Suggesting he wants more, the boss said: “In an ideal world we have six, seven, eight centre halves. We need to be lucky with injuries.

“I have no doubt about the quality of the boys we have, we have Jarell Quansah, a super-talented player as well. In this moment, we are covered but it’s not dreamland where you can be prepared for absolutely each situation…

“We will try to do our absolute best to have a squad next week for us where we can react on pretty much everything. Is that possible? We will see.”

 

5. Magpies have glint in their eyes

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 4, 2023: Newcastle United's Callum Wilson during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Newcastle United FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. Man City won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The early signs are that Newcastle are here to stay. Last season’s impressive performances have continued into the start of this campaign.

The real test will come when they have to contend with playing Champions League football at the same time as competing in the Premier League.

Eddie Howe has spent money on his squad to help prepare; their new signings include Sandro Tonali from AC Milan, Harvey Barnes from Leicester and Tino Livramento from Southampton.

 

6. Joelinton “fine” but still some doubt

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Newcastle United's Bruno Guimarães during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Newcastle United FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. Man City won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Howe has a fairly full squad to pick from. He is, however, missing Joe Willock who has scored twice vs. Liverpool already in his young career.

Joelinton was the Magpies’ big injury doubt coming into the weekend and Howe offered an update ahead of the game.

Their manager said: “Joelinton is fine. We didn’t see him in the early part of the week but he trained in the latter part so fingers crossed he’s OK.”

That does leave some doubt, but if he is “fine,” he should be alright to start.

Possible Newcastle XI: Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Tonali, Bruno, Joelinton; Almiron, Isak, Barnes

 

7. Going for a club first

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 18, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St. James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds are looking to record three successive league wins at Newcastle for the first time in their history.

Liverpool’s recent form against the Magpies looks good too; last season, the Reds recorded their fourth league double over Newcastle in the last five campaigns.

In fact, the last Newcastle player to score in a win over Liverpool was Gini Wijnaldum in December 2015.

 

8. Salah “100 percent” focussed on the Reds

Salah has been the subject of rumours this week, linking him with a move to Al-ittihad.

As it happens, Liverpool are coming up against a Saudi-backed club closer to home this weekend, but Salah will be fully focussed on the game.

Klopp reaffirmed he the Egyptian isn’t for sale and said he is “100 percent” concentrating on Liverpool.

 

9. Who is the referee?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 5, 2023: Referee John Brooks during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Brentford FC at Old Trafford. Man Utd won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Thankfully, no Paul Tierney this week; John Brooks is the referee for this one while Simon Hooper is the VAR.

Hooper will be assisted by Constantine Hatzidakis, previously known for elbowing Andy Robertson – he had the same role for the Bournemouth game last week.

Lee Betts and Akil Howson and are Brooks’ assistants, with Craig Pawson acting as the fourth official.

 

10. Follow the match with TIA

DONESCHINGEN, GERMANY - Tuesday, July 18, 2023: The Liverpool team bus seen during a pre-season training camp in Germany. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Newcastle vs. Liverpool is live on Sky Sports Premier League with kickoff at 4.30pm (BST).

TIA’s matchday live blog will be up and running from 3.45pm, with Adam Beattie tasked with keeping you entertained and up-to-date.

Come on you Reds!