How Newcastle United Will Line Up Against Liverpool
The Geordies have won two of their last three clashes with the Reds on Tyneside, but their wounds are yet to heal after losing 6-0 to the Merseysiders in the corresponding fixture in April.
Brendan Rodgers’ side has enjoyed a positive start to the 2013-'14 campaign and currently sits second in the table, level on points with leaders Arsenal.
And with the Magpies looking to notch consecutive league wins for the second time this term, we take a look at how Alan Pardew’s men could line up against the Scousers.
Goalkeeper: Tim Krul
After a relatively quiet shift between the posts during Newcastle’s last game at Cardiff City, Tim Krul should be in for a far busier time of it against in-form Liverpool.
The Dutchman will need to be on top of his game to keep duo Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge at bay, with the Reds’ front two responsible for nine of their 11 league goals so far.
Rob Elliot wore the gloves the last time the Merseysiders were in town, and ended up picking the ball out of his net no fewer than six times. Krul will be hoping to avoid such humiliation this time around.
Full-Backs: Mathieu Debuchy and Davide Santon
Despite coming under increased pressure from fellow full-back Paul Dummett in recent weeks, Davide Santon is expected to continue on the left side of Newcastle’s defence this weekend
The Italian produced a much-improved display in the win over Cardiff City and is hoping to cement his place in the starting XI now that Massadio Haidara is returning to fitness.
Fresh from his goalscoring exploits for France during their 6-0 demolition of Australia last week, Mathieu Debuchy is fully expected to continue at right-back for the Magpies.
The former Lille defender was sent off against Liverpool at St. James’ Park last season and will be keen to eradicate the memories of that testing afternoon in April.
Centre-Backs: Steven Taylor and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa
It could be a case of all change for Newcastle United in central defence this weekend, with captain Fabricio Coloccini missing with a groin injury and Steven Taylor available for the first time since the opening day of the season.
Coloccini’s absence could see Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa drafted back into the side, and his pace would be a useful asset against the direct threat posed by Suarez and Sturridge.
The Frenchman is out to make a point having been substituted at half-time during the defeat to Everton and subsequently dropped for the trip to Cardiff City.
With Taylor also pushing for a starting place, his return could spell bad news for Mike Williamson, who has let nobody down since being drafted into Alan Pardew’s team.
Central Midfielders: Moussa Sissoko and Cheick Tiote
With midfielder Vurnon Anita keen to win his place back in Newcastle United’s starting XI, boss Alan Pardew has a big decision to make ahead of the visit of Liverpool.
Anita’s exclusion for the trip to Cardiff City was a huge talking point among the club’s supporters, but following victory in South Wales, Pardew’s decision was vindicated.
Though the Dutchman has been one of the Toon’s most consistent performers this term, the Magpies’ manager could be tempted to stick with the powerful pairing of Moussa Sissoko and Cheick Tiote.
And given the Reds’ ability from midfield via the likes of England skipper Steven Gerrard, United might need all the muscle they can get.
Attacking Midfielder: Yohan Cabaye
Another scorer for France during their recent win over Australia, Yohan Cabaye will be given the chance to pull the strings from midfield against Liverpool on Saturday.
The 27-year-old was in irresistible form against Cardiff City and was hugely unlucky not to get on the scoresheet as he had just days earlier against Everton at Goodison Park.
His eye for a pass and ability from distance will pose a threat to the Reds, and given his recent displays, Alan Pardew will be keen to get Cabaye on the ball as much as possible.
Wide Forwards: Hatem Ben Arfa and Loic Remy
Another player dropped to the bench for the trip to Cardiff City, Hatem Ben Arfa has a point to prove against Liverpool and is expected to get the nod on the right of a front three.
His erratic form aside, the French winger remains a potential match-winner and is another individual who can expect to see a lot of the ball on Saturday.
On the left, Loic Remy will be asked to replicate the kind of devastating runs and finishing that saw the Toon return from Cardiff with all three points.
His brace in the Welsh capital took his tally to five goals in five games, and, as the Magpies’ form player, few would bet against the on-loan forward adding to his impressive tally.
Centre-Forward: Papiss Cisse
Despite his well-publicised drought in front of goal, Papiss Cisse should be given another chance to break his duck against Liverpool on Saturday.
In the centre of a front three, and with support from Ben Arfa, Remy and Cabaye, it is surely a matter of time before the No. 9 finds the net in the Premier League once more.
Sooner or later, the Senegalese striker will rediscover his shooting boots, and everyone connected to Newcastle United will be hoping he finds them this weekend.