Amidst speculation of Alan Pardew’s side’s plot of revenge against the Reds for the disheartening 6-0 loss that greeted them at home to the Merseysiders at the tail-end of last season, I dare say, Liverpool will defeat Newcastle United emphatically again! And, the reasons aren’t far-fetched.
First up, the two teams are playing for different reasons in the Premier League this season.
The primary target for Rodgers and The Red Gang is a top-four finish willy-nilly. Anything short is simply unacceptable; both by fans and club owners, thus their current position in the league so far. However, winning the league isn’t a bad idea too. As a matter of fact, it is the team’s Number 2 mandate.
The Newcastle United side to me seem to be playing just to remain in the league. There is no serious ambition noticeable in the team as a whole. They appear to want to play all season in order not to be relegated. It all seem as though Alan Pardew only tells the players to just get on the field to play to avoid a loss. If they can get a win, its okay. But, a draw is just good. And, I think things are as they are at Newcastle because the club owner did not give his manager the right backing in the summer. Also, the fans too seem quite comfortable with a mediocre performance overall.
Second is returning player boosts and injuries
For the Reds, its good news. Lucas Leiva is set to return from his one-match ban. Three other first team players have returned to full training from injury spells. They are Glenn Johnson, Joe Allen and Aly Cisokho. The return of the trio is a big boost for Rodgers’ side. Also, recovering speedily is the charismatic Brazilian, Phillipe Coutinho.
For Newcastle on the other hand, its worries. Argentine internationals Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez will be missing in action for the Toon due to injury and family matters respectively. Steven Taylor is also not likely to be available as he is recovering from a hamstring injury. So, in place of Coloccini will be Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa at the centre back alongside Mike Williamson. It might be interesting to note that Newcastle have lost emphatically in all the matches the pair of Yanga-Mbiwa and Williamson have started this year for them.
So, it goes without saying that the Liverpool side are more battle-ready than Newcastle. This is because the Reds have recovered from injuries and are looking brighter and sharper. Newcastle, on the other hand, have just began their injury worries.
Third is the strike-force versus the defensive strength of both teams.
Liverpool have the red-hot partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge to lead their attack. Suarez didn’t feature in the Reds Rampage of St. James Park in April this year due to his 10-match ban while Daniel Sturridge scored two of the six goals for Liverpool. However, the major concern for Newcastle is the lack of necessary man-power to hold Liverpool’s formidable front-men.
Loic Remy is about the only threat in the Newcastle’s attack force. Though, there is one Papisse Cisse whose form in the Premier League is experiencing a serious downturn in fortunes. But, that is nothing to worry about given the potency of Liverpool’s defensive line which is about the best in the league thus far this season.
However, the match won’t be a stroll in the park for LFC because, the NUFC team will be playing with great bitterness as some sort of ‘Sworn Shyllocks’ in a quest for their pound of flesh while, the LFC team will be playing with a highly ambitious mentality as they reach further for the much coveted elite ranks. So, its going to be a great game. There will definitely be lots of value for money. It will be pulsating from start to finish. No dull moment.
My prediction is: a 5-1 win for Liverpool, two of the goals to coming from Luis Suarez and one from Steven Gerrard (to get him to his 100th League Goal milestone). The remaining two goals will come from any two of Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson or Victor Moses.
Newcastle are likely to draw first blood through Loic Remy or Yohan Cabaye. In other words, one the two Frenchmen will score the Magpies only goal of the game.
Do you agree or disagree? What is your prediction?