Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink expects Liverpool and Newcastle United to face off for a top-four spot
It seems like last season’s Newcastle United and Liverpool switched fortunes as the Reds find themselves in the middle of the table with a flurry of unpleasant results. The Magpies, on the other hand, are in third place with only one loss in 20 games this season.
In fact, Eddie Howe is the only English manager to go on a 15-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League this century. Liverpool will certainly have it tough to go up against the Midlanders and were forced to rely on a 98th winner from Fabio Carvalho when both the sides met at Anfield earlier this season.
But in any case, the Reds need to up their game sooner than later to pose any threat to Newcastle or for that matter, any team in the reckoning for a top-four spot. Even the latest draw against Chelsea just reinstated the urgency to get on board new players.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Hasselbaink talked about how the top-four race is going to be between the Merseysiders and Newcastle. He also believes Chelsea have an outside chance. Here is what he said via Daily Mail:
“It’s Newcastle’s to lose. Chelsea are in a transition. Liverpool can go ten games unbeaten. Liverpool have a bigger chance than Chelsea but if they can keep on getting clean sheets they will win matches. It’s there to lose with Newcastle.”
Liverpool to challenge Newcastle
To challenge Newcastle for a spot in the top four, Liverpool should focus on solidifying their defence and midfield. The team should work on maintaining possession and creating opportunities for their forwards through effective passing and movement off the ball which has been substandard this season.
Additionally, Liverpool should work on improving their set-piece play, as goals from free kicks and corner kicks can often be the difference in tight matches. The Reds’ defending of corners against Brentford was horrendous. Even Kai Havertz’s ruled-out goal when we took on Chelsea was corner-kick induced.
The Reds should play a more high-pressing style like the previous seasons as the same set of players cannot do the task in this current campaign. It is natural that with age, players’ skill level diminishes and that is why the Reds need to get on board young quality players who can play for Liverpool in the long-term as well.
The Magpies have made significant improvements under the management of Eddie Howe. He has instilled a strong team ethic and a cohesive playing style, which has led to some impressive results and are capable of upsetting any big side.
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Liverpool should be wary of Newcastle United’s chances of finishing in the top four in the Premier League as it’s clear that the Magpies are a team on the rise. Unless we nip them in the bud, we will have another challenger to contend with for the next few years.