How Newcastle United Will Line Up Against Liverpool
The Reds must win on Sunday to have any chance of lifting their first championship since 1990, while they also need West Ham to do them a favour against Manchester City along the M62.
For the Magpies it marks the end of a turbulent campaign—one which has seen them take just 16 points from a possible 54 in 2014 and score just 13 times since Boxing Day.
The pressure has never been greater on boss Alan Pardew, who will endure showdown talks about his future with owner Mike Ashley over the coming weeks.
Goalkeeper: Tim Krul
Newcastle United owed a big debt to Tim Krul last weekend as they registered their first win since March, with the Dutchman making some fine stops to keep Cardiff City at bay.
But the 26-year-old will face one of the ultimate challenges on Sunday when he comes face-to-face with a Liverpool side who have netted 108 times this season and a strike-force that have 54 goals between them.
In desperate need of three points, the home side will doubtlessly go for the Toon’s jugular early on and much will depend on how Krul performs in the face of the inevitable onslaught.
Full-Backs: Mathieu Debuchy and Paul Dummett
Mathieu Debuchy was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet against Cardiff City last Saturday, but the Frenchman will need to concentrate on more defensive matters at Anfield.
There are suggestions that this could be the right-back’s last appearance in a Newcastle United shirt, with Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Roma all showing an interest, according to talkSPORT.
On the left-hand side, Paul Dummett will continue his run in the starting XI in the absence of Davide Santon, who has just returned to training following a hamstring injury.
The 22-year-old scored his one and only senior goal for the Magpies against Liverpool in a 2-2 draw at St. James' Park in October.
Centre-Backs: Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson
Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini delivered some much-needed good news this week, insisting his future lies on Tyneside following months of speculation.
In an interview with The Shields Gazette’s Miles Starforth, the 32-year-old confirmed plans to remain at St. James’ Park, and the Magpies will need all of his strength and experience at Liverpool.
Alongside him, Mike Williamson will be charged with keeping Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge quiet, and he’ll want to go out on a high after a productive season at the heart of the Toon’s back four.
Central Midfielders: Vurnon Anita and Cheick Tiote
Through sheer necessity, Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew will partner Vurnon Anita and Cheick Tiote in the centre of midfield at Anfield, despite their glaring lack of invention.
The pair have been used frequently this season, but they pose little threat in an attacking sense and are in desperate need of a more creative figure in front of them.
With Liverpool expected to attack from the first whistle, their technical and defensive qualities will come in useful, but longer term, the Magpies’ midfield needs a serious injection of creativity.
Wide Midfielders: Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran
Moussa Sissoko was another Newcastle United player who can count himself unlucky not to score last weekend, and his performance against Cardiff City was one of the game’s highlights.
The Frenchman showed his class in setting up Shola Ameobi for the Toon’s first goal and an energetic display from the 24-year-old served as a timely reminder of his talents.
With Sissoko on the right, Alan Pardew is expected to play Yoan Gouffran in a familiar role on the left flank. The former Bordeaux man has not scored since Boxing Day and would love to rectify that at Anfield.
Centre-Forwards: Loic Remy and Luuk De Jong
Newcastle United top scorer Loic Remy will lead the line against Liverpool in what will be his final appearance in a Magpies shirt before heading off to the World Cup to represent France.
The on-loan striker has been a huge hit in the Toon’s attack but a deal to bring him to St. James’ Park permanently looks unlikely after he was spotted at Arsenal last weekend.
Despite not scoring in any of his 11 appearances so far, the Magpies are desperate to bolster their forward line after Papiss Cisse was ruled out indefinitely following knee surgery.