Saturday, March 3 – 5:30p.m local time – Anfield, Liverpool.
With flimsy defending mixed with occasional flashes of individual brilliance, Liverpool has very much been a work in progress since Jurgen Klopp took over the burden of responsibility at Anfield in 2015.
Hailed as the man who would usher the Reds back to their glory days, it is beginning to look for all the world as though the German has put the final flourish on his Liverpool side.
The Reds are set to welcome Newcastle United over the weekend in the Premier League, as the hunt for a top four finish intensifies.
Something that had started off as a minor tremor has quickly escalated into a major earthquake, with potentially six of the most vibrant teams in English football scrambling for the four allocated slots in Europe’s most elite and prestigious club cup competition.
Liverpool – which is third on the log with 57 points – has already conceded the title race to Manchester City, which is 15 points ahead with a game in-hand.
The Reds will be beaming with confidence ahead of hosting the Magpies, coming in the wake of a cracking performance against West Ham last time out.
Whether it was because David Moyes, a former Merseyside rival, was on the opposing end or rather because the Hammers were too profligate at the back, it mattered little as it was a chastening afternoon for West Ham, which was thrashed 4-1 by a rampant Liverpool side.
Nonetheless, despite its boom and bust going forward, Liverpool’s biggest undoing remains to be the inconsistency with which it carves out results; the makeshift defense taking the lion’s share of the blame.
Klopp endeavored to address this gray area by signing Virgil van Dijk for a world record breaking fee for a defender in January, one that has evidently began to reap dividends.
The patching up of its leaky defense has come as a reprieve for the Liverpool gaffer, who can now afford to throw numbers forward with the will to entertain, rather than outscore their opponents.
Such was the case when they disciplined the Portuguese champions with a 5-0 hammering in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16, tentatively booking a place in the last eight of the competition.
Newcastle may have earned promotion back into the top tier this season, but their journey has been nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster. A historic 1-0 win over Manchester United at St James’ Park a fortnight ago massively enhanced their survival chances, but it is their poor form on the road that has impeded progress.
The Magpies – who are just two points above the drop zone – have only won two of their last 12 away games, further compounded by the fact that Liverpool haven’t lost a single home game in the Premier League this season.
Rafa Benitez will travel to Anfield with a depleted squad; the duo of Gamez and Islam Slimani missing out on injury, while Dwight Gayle will have to pass a late fitness test in order to make the trip to Merseyside.
Jurgen Klopp on the other hand will be spoilt for choice in his selection, as only Nathaniel Clyne is sidelined with injury.
Mohamed Salah odds and specials
|Best Bet||Odds||Bet Now|
|Salah to score anytime||$1.55 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
|Salah to score anytime/Liverpool to win||$2 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
Mohamed Salah has, by and large, been the standout performer in the Premier League this season. The Egyptian is neck and neck with Harry Kane in the race for the golden boot, and should boast of another fine performance in front of goal having scored 25 times in his last 25 appearances.
Liverpool vs. Newcastle match prediction
The Reds are unbeaten at home in the Premier League this season, while Rafa Benitez has yet to lose a competitive match against Liverpool, despite having faced them with three different clubs: Valencia, Chelsea and Newcastle.
Liverpool can score at will, but Benitez enjoys a special record against his former side.
Prediction: Match to end in a draw – +550 at William Hill
Liverpool vs. Newcastle United recent results
|October 1, 2017||Newcastle||1||Liverpool||1|
|Goal-scorers: Joselu 36′, Philippe Coutinho 29′|
|April 23, 2016||Newcastle||2||Liverpool||2|
|Goal-scorers: Daniel Sturridge 2′, Adam Lallana 30′, Papiss Cisse 48′, Jack Colback 66′|
|December 18, 2016||Liverpool||0||Newcastle||2|
|Goal-scorers: Martin Skrtel 69′ (OG), Georginio Wijnaldum 90’+3|
|April 13, 2015||Liverpool||2||Newcastle||0|
|Goal-scorers: Raheem Sterling 9′, Joe Allen 70′|
|December 21, 2015||Newcastle||1||Liverpool||0|
|Goal-scorers:Ayoze Perez 73′|
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