Writer: Gavin John Day
Date:Thursday October 17 2013
Barclays Premier League
St James' Park
Live on BT Sport
Liverpool return to action on Saturday lunchtime, after a two week break for World Cup qualifiers, with a Barclays Premier League trip to Newcastle United.
The fixture has traditionally been a goal fest with the last goalless draw between the two recorded way back in 1974.
Last season was no different with a 1-1 draw at Anfield followed by a crushing 6-0 defeat for the Magpies in April's corresponding home fixture.
The result was part of an impressive end to the campaign for Liverpool which has continued this term to leave the Reds in second spot; behind leaders Arsenal on goals scored only.
As for Newcastle they've had an indifferent start to the season and currently find themselves in 11th place with a record of W3 D1 L3.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers: "It will be a tough match for us but we're looking forward to it. We just need to maintain our commitment. We know every game is a cup final for us this season.
"There will be even greater motivation from our perspective, because we know that Newcastle are coming off the back of a really good result at Cardiff.
"It hasn't been so easy for them at home. It's a difficult place - you've got some 50,000 really passionate supporters who demand that you play attacking football."
Newcastle have question marks over a trio of defenders. Captain Fabricio Coloccini is a big doubt with a non specified muscle injury which forced him to miss Argentina's midweek clash with Uruguay. His possible absence is compounded by an ongoing hamstring problem to fellow center-back Steven Taylor which has kept the 27-year-old out for the past month. If both are unavailable then Mike Williamson and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa are likely to form a largely untested partnership at the heart of the defence. Massadio Haidara is the other defender potentially missing but with Santon and Mathieu Debuchy the first choice full-backs, his absence would be much less keenly felt. Elsewhere, talented winger Hatem Ben Arfa will be hoping for a recall after being dropped for the 2-1 win at Cardiff City. It will be interesting to see how positive Alan Pardew is up front with Papiss Cisse and Loic Remy a potentially potent partnership if played together, although Cisse is currently on a barren run in front of goal stretching back to April.
Krul, Debuchy, Taylor, Williamson, Santon, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Cabaye, Sissoko, Gouffran, Remy
The French international is doing his upmost to make amends with fans after an early season indiscretion when, with a bid from Arsenal on the table, he refused to play in a match against West Ham United. The move never materialised after the Gunners' £10million bid was deemed insufficient but interest in Cabaye is unsurprising with the 27-year-old amongst the league's best midfielders. Cabaye possesses a great range of passing and is potent from set-pieces. Much of Newcastle's play goes through the former Lille man and Liverpool's ability to keep him quiet could be crucial to the outcome.
Right-back Glen Johnson and midfielder Joe Allen are both back in training following ankle and hamstring problems respectively. Allen is unlikely to feature though with Lucas Leiva returning from a one-match suspension and Jordan Henderson impressing everyone with his form so far this season. Their recovery from injury, added to the recent comeback of Aly Cissokho, temporarily meant only Philippe Coutinho was out - the creative Brazilian is penciled in for a return from shoulder surgery against West Bromwich Albion next weekend. However, back-up striker Iago Aspas injured a thigh in training on Thursday and will now also be missing for six weeks. Given the side has recorded back-to-back 3-1 victories against Sunderland and Crystal Palace, changes other than Lucas' return, probably at the expense of Raheem Sterling, are unlikely unless players have picked up injuries whilst on international duty.
Mignolet, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho, Henderson, Enrique, Lucas, Gerrard, Moses, Suarez, Sturridge
After two seasons of inconsistent showings, Henderson has finally hit a period of sustained form comparable to a player who cost upwards of £20million. His impressive showings this season are all the more remarkable considering he has been utilised in three distinctly different positions; attacking wide player, central midfield and wing-back. Unless Johnson is risked, 'Hendo' is likely to revert back to right wing-back on Saturday and it is a position that suits his boundless energy and consistent all-round game. Intelligent link-up play and decent delivery provides the likes of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge with an additional source of supply and the England international has been known to get on the scoresheet himself from time-to-time.
• Liverpool and Newcastle have met 157 times in their respective histories and the Reds hold the upper hand overall with 76 wins to 43 and 38 draws. Liverpool have scored a total of 277 goals compared to a tally of 193 for the Geordies.
• Liverpool also have by far the better record in recent matches; winning 10 of the last 14 Premier League fixtures (L3 D1).
• There have been 38 Premier League contests between these two without a goalless draw. No fixture has had more games without a 0-0 and only one in Premier League history (Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur - 125) has seen more goals scored (122).
• Each of Newcastle's last 12 Barclays Premier League goals have been scored by a Frenchman with only three English players appearing for the Magpies in the league this season; fewer than any other side.
• Reds skipper Steven Gerrard is looking for his 100th Premier League goal this weekend and, behind Aston Villa (11), Newcastle are his most regular opponent for scoring against (7).
• If only second-half performances counted, Liverpool would be 19th in the Premier League with just four points. Conversely they have an impressive record of scoring 10 and conceding just one goal in the opening 45 minutes of league matches this season.
Andre Marriner is the official appointed to oversee this contest. The West Midlands based whistle blower has taken charge of eight games so far this season, showing 28 yellow cards and two reds. The 42-year-old has been a part of the Select Group of Referees who oversee Premier League fixtures since 2005 and took charge of last season's FA Cup final at Wembley.
Liverpool's record in this fixture points to only one winner but we've seen too many occasions when proceedings have not followed the script to put it down as a guaranteed three points. Newcastle are a bit of an enigma, as their record suggests, and never more so than in their recent fixture at our neighbours Everton. Trailing 3-0 at half-time after one of the poorest first 45 minute performances I have ever seen in the top flight, they were transformed after the break and clawed two goals back without conceding any further. In the likes of Cabaye, Ben Arfa and Remy they have quality and goals but defensively they can often be best described as woeful. That fact, coupled with the lack of a 0-0 draw in Premier League meetings, makes me nervous but I'll unsurprisingly predict goals as well as an away win.
Vital Liverpool predicts 1-2
Liverpool - Premier League vs. West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on Saturday 26th October 2013, kick off 3.00pm BST.
Newcastle United - Premier League vs. Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday 27th October 2013, kick off 1.30pm BST.
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Date:Thursday October 17 2013
Liverpool: Gerrard Back Sooner Than Expected? (Wednesday December 11 2013)
Liverpool: Two Fixture Changes In February (Tuesday December 10 2013)
Liverpool: Reds Linked To Calhanoglu (Tuesday December 10 2013)
Liverpool: U21s Defeated By Bolton (Monday December 9 2013)
Liverpool: Rodgers 'Delighted' With Hammers Win (Monday December 9 2013)
Vital Report: Liverpool 4-1 West Ham United (Monday December 9 2013)
Liverpool: Reds Draw Familiar Foes In FA Cup (Sunday December 8 2013)
Stats: Liverpool v West Ham United (Saturday December 7 2013)
Liverpool: LFC vs. West Ham Team News (Saturday December 7 2013)
Liverpool: Lawro Predicts West Ham Result (Friday December 6 2013)
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