Liverpool welcome Newcastle to Anfield tonight hoping to secure all three points and potentially move a little further up the Premiership leaderboard. With Newcastle returning to form following a draw and a loss to Swansea and West Brom, Liverpool will have to be at their best to overcome Alan Pardew’s side.
Leading striker Luis Suarez is set to miss the game through suspension. Steven Gerrard, although available, will likely start from the bench as Kenny Dalglish looks to ease him him back into the starting line up. I’d expect Gerrard to come on at some point in any event. For Newcastle, their form player Demba Ba will also be playing after overcoming a slight knee injury in the 3-0 win against Bolton last time out.
The back four of Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Jose Enrique are all fit and available and should continue their fine form. A quick glance at the table shows that the bottom two Premiership sides Bolton and Blackburn have, inexplicably scored more goals than Liverpool so far this term, 22 and 25 respectively, to Liverpool’s 21. This is something that clearly has to stop and if things are to improve for the Reds. OK, so they’ve hit the post four trillion times or whatever the number is but, if there’s any truth in the old saying that “these things all even themselves out over the season”, then surely it’s time for the posts to move just that little bit sideways and the bar to rise just that little bit and for the many chances to go flying in.
My heart tells me that this is the time when things start to go Liverpool’s way, but my head tells me to get a grip! The way things have gone, someone surely is in for a whooping and I’d like to see this tonight. Newcastle are, for sure, one of the form sides so far this season and if Liverpool are to fulfil their role as pretenders for a leading slot, then this is the kind of game they should be winning.
The midfield will no doubt contain Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and likely Stewart Downing. After that, then perhaps a chance for Jay spearing to return or for Craig Bellamy or Maxi Rodriguez to continue the good work each of those have done of late. Up front, well, the talking point of the match. Andy Carroll making a start against his old club. I’d like to see him finish the year on a high. For all of the stick he gets from the Liverpool faithful, me included, he deserves some patience and afterall, he is a Liverpool player. YNWA and all that?
I think the game will end in yet another draw for Liverpool at Anfield. Simply because for all of my hope I don’t see Carroll doing that much. I do, however, stand to be corrected but I don’t have much faith that that’ll happen. If the Reds do score, it’s likely to be through Maxi or Bellamy. Having said that it’s also about time Henderson and Charlie started getting amongst the goals.
So, as readers of this column will know I don’t make predictions. However, I suggest 2-2 with a hint of some of the famous old scraps these two sides have decided at Anfield in the past, and who knows, I might even be wrong and see Liverpool take all three points at home for the first time in what seems like ages.
By Ben Green
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