The Premier League returns this weekend after the international break with Liverpool v Newcastle, KO 12:30pm, getting things under way.
The match is previewed here by Will Reilly.
Liverpool are top of the Premier League table and are the only side with a 100% record after four matches of the new campaign. They have so far scored 12 goals in the league and conceded three.
Their first clean sheet of the campaign came last week at Burnley, so even that box has now been ticked.
Newcastle have been hovering on the edge of disaster for a few years now. This situation has tested their supporters’ patience to the limit. Head coach Steve Bruce is trying to keep a lid on emotions in order to protect the team. Four points from their last two games has helped in this respect.
This has produced a steady start for the Toon – they are 14th in the Premier League table – but they will need to exceed most people’s expectations to get any kind of a result at Anfield.
It’s again worth repeating that Liverpool won 14 of their last 15 games last season in all competitions and 18 of their last 24 (drawing five).
They lost just one Premier League game all season (2-1 at Man City on Jan 3rd), winning 30 of their 38 matches. They won their last seven home league matches, scoring 23 goals and keeping five clean sheets.
This season, they have beaten Norwich 4-1 and Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield, and won 2-1 at Southampton and 3-0 at Burnley. And, as mentioned earlier, they are the only Premier League side with a 100% record this season.
The win at Burnley saw them set a club record of 13 league wins in a row
Sadio Mané (10), Mo Salah (8) and Roberto Firmino (5) have sored 23 goals between them in Liverpool’s last 13 league games and remain potent forces both individually and collectively.
In terms of league head-to-heads between the two sides at Anfield, Liverpool and Newcastle have met 18 times this century, with Liverpool winning 14 and losing none of the games, scoring 43 goals and notching two-or-more goals in 16 of the 18 games.
Furthermore, in ten of the games Newcastle failed to score and scored more than one goal in only two of them (scoring twice on each occasion). Both teams scored in only eight of the 18 and over 2.5 goals has occurred in 12 of the 18, and seven of the last ten.
In short, Liverpool own this fixture.
They sit in 14th position in the table with one win, one draw and two defeats (4 points accrued). Two defeats initially were followed by a superb 1-0 win at Spurs, although a home draw with Watford (1-1) ensured that feet have been kept on the ground.
They have yet to score more than once in a match this season in five games in total and have kept just one clean sheet (against Spurs).
Alisson is still recovering from a calf injury. Recent reports, though, suggest that Naby Keïta could be available, but Nathaniel Clyne (knee) is a long-term absentee.
Summer signing from Nice, Allan Saint-Maximin (hamstring), is still unavailable and probably will be for all of September. Florian Lejeune (long-term knee injury) and Andy Carroll also remain on the sidelines, although the latter is close to being available.
Dwight Gayle’s injury is baffling the medical team and the player himself and he is still being assessed by specialists. DeAndre Yedlin is back in full training but Matt Ritchie is still recovering from the poor tackle he received against Leicester in the League Cup.
Fabian Schär came off against Watford last Saturday but should be fine for this week’s match given that he played for Switzerland in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Sunday.
VERDICT / TIPS:
All roads point to a Liverpool win (2/13), as that short price indicates. Surely there will be a goal for Mo Salah (8/13) or Sadio Mané (4/5), or both – take your pick. Mané, of course, represents better value at the prices.
Over 2.5 goals (2/5) looks good, too – over 3.5 looks reasonably priced at 21/20 – and, if pressed to suggest a score, I’d go with 3-0, 4-1 or even 5-0, which are priced at 11/2, 14/1 and 14/1, respectively