5 key things to know ahead of Liverpool vs. Newcastle
A marauding Liverpool host a floundering Newcastle on Thursday evening, in the final home league game before Christmas.
Jurgen Klopp’s saw off Aston Villa narrowly in their last outing and another home clash comes their way this week.
Newcastle may be wealthy after their recent takeover but they are languishing at the bottom of the table and relegation looks very possible.
Here are 5 things to know ahead of the match.
Money can’t buy you points (yet)
The much-loathed reign of Mike Ashley at St James’ Park is now over, with the controversial former owner selling up for around £305 million in October.
Taking over is the highly controversial Saudi Arabian-backed consortium led by businesswoman Amanda Staveley, meaning Newcastle are set to become the next financial force in English football.
It is a deal that doesn’t sit well with many rival fans, partly due to human rights issues, but Magpies supporters are not complicit in that.
For that reason, their supporters should arguably be allowed to enjoy what could be an exciting period in the club’s history. But still, would there be anything funnier than arguably the richest club in the world being relegated?
Howe’s early struggles
Steve Bruce’s doomed spell as Newcastle manager is now a thing of the past, with Eddie Howe coming in to try to save the day.
However, it’s fair to say he hasn’t made a flying start to life up north with the Magpies only winning one of his first five games in charge.
Their 4-0 defeat at Leicester last time around was woeful, and if Newcastle don’t start picking up points soon, they could be cut adrift in the relegation fight.
Fortunately for them, they have potential bucket-loads of money to spend in January.
How could Newcastle line-up?
Howe may feel he needs to shake things up at Anfield following the abject showing at Leicester on Sunday.
On the flip side, the manager could back the same group of players and demand a response.
Martin Dubravka returned recently and will continue in goal, while former Liverpool pair Javi Manquillo and Jonjo Shelvey could both start.
Allan Saint-Maximin is Newcastle’s main attacking threat and Callum Wilson and Joelinton could both feature as well if Howe is feeling bold.
Possible Newcastle XI: Dubravka; Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lewis; Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin; Wilson, Joelinton.
Who’s out for Liverpool?
Harvey Elliott is still missing but is progressing well in his recovery from the broken ankle suffered back in September. A January return is on the cards for the 18-year-old.
Meanwhile, Nat Phillips will be out until the New Year with a fractured cheekbone, having performed so well against AC Milan.
Curtis Jones is back in training after a troubling eye issue and Roberto Firmino is fit again after a hamstring injury and should be among the subs.
Newcastle hapless at Anfield
Last season, Jack Willock’s last-gasp strike earned Newcastle a dramatic draw at Anfield, but their record here is pretty appalling.
The Magpies’ last victory at the home of Liverpool came in the League Cup way back in November 1995 when a Steve Watson strike separated the two sides.
In terms of a league win at Anfield, Newcastle haven’t succeeded since April 1994, with Rob Lee and Andy Cole finding the net.
There was also the small matter of those two 4-3 wins for Liverpool back in the mid-1990s, summing up how miserable their fans’ trips to the red half of Merseyside have invariably been.