Liverpool host Newcastle in the Premier League this evening looking to get back to winning ways after successive defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal respectively.
Manchester City’s defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday has given Reds fans hope they can still finish in the top four places this season and enter next season’s UEFA Champions League at the qualifying stage.
Newcastle themselves are on a losing run and looking hopeless under John Carver, which is why I full believe it will be a comfortable home win this evening. Here are 5 reasons why I think so:
1. Brendan Rodgers vs John Carver
Although the Northern Irishman has been outclassed by the experienced and successful Louis van Gaal and Arsène Wenger of late, his opposite number is far from that league. John Carver, Newcastle’s caretaker manager doesn’t come across as a future full-time manager. His side have been playing players out of position and often without much shape. Brendan Rodgers has the better players at his disposal this evening and I fully expect his side to take advantage of Carver’s inadequacies on their way to dominating possession, creating several chances and ultimately winning the game.
2. Newcastle Form
Whilst the form book reads back-to-back defeats for Liverpool (excluding the FA Cup replay versus Blackburn), they have come against two of the top three. Newcastle, however, are on a four game losing sequence in the Premier League. This includes a 3-0 thrashing at bottom half Everton and relegation threatened rivals Sunderland. They’ve scored just once during this run. The Magpies are truly a team out-of-form of late.
3. Newcastle Defence
Newcastle’s two first-choice centre-backs are absent – Fabricio Coloccini is suspended and Steven Taylor is injured. Paul Dummett is also injured and has played some time there this season. Daryl Janmaat is considered a doubt but the Dutch right-back will surely start as Newcastle simply have no other options. And the former-Feyenoord full-back is likely to continue alongside Mike Williamson in the middle. Jack Colback reverts from centre midfield to left-back, whilst Ryan Taylor has been playing the last few games at right-back and not looking much like a Premier League-standard player in those games.
4. Liverpool’s Pace + Movement in Attack
Philippe Coutinho vs Ryan Taylor is certainly a favourable match up for Liverpool fans. The Brazilian has been one of their stars this season and potentially matches up to a player who has spent the best part of two years injured until late. I can certainly see Coutinho cutting inside to cause the makeshift Newcastle defence problems. On top of that, he’ll likely have the pace and movement of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling to pick out. Those two aren’t on a great goalscoring run of late admittedly, but you can certainly see them getting on the scoresheet against this defence.
5. Newcastle’s Impotence
The visitors have netted only one goal in their last five Premier League games and two in their last seven. Top scorer Papiss Cissé is suspended, Ayoze Pérez has failed to score in his last 12 and Emmanuel Rivière is yet to score in the Premier League, period. Newcastle are lacking much creativity from their midfield too with right-back Daryl Janmaat and makeshift left-back Jack Colback about the best they’ve had this season. Rémy Cabella has been inconsistent and yet to live up to his expectations.