Liverpool host Newcastle United at Anfield on New Year’s Day hoping to maintain their place at the top of the Premier League table.
The Reds are at the summit at the time of writing, two points clear of Arsenal and three ahead of Aston Villa. Those two have a chance to make another statement in the title race before Liverpool play, but Jurgen Klopp knows that as long as his side beat the Magpies, they will remain the pace-setters.
With that in mind, it’s time to get yourself geared up with predicted XIs, stats and key players for each team.
Liverpool vs Newcastle predicted XIs
Liverpool predicted XI
Jurgen Klopp is having to carefully manage his squad with Stefan Bajcetic, Thiago Alcantara, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson, Alexis Mac Allister, Kostas Tsimikas and Ben Doak all sidelined at present. Even so, the German still has a wealth of talent to call upon.
Of course, Alisson will remain in goal, behind a back-four most likely made up of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, who is now covering for two injured left-backs.
The Reds will continue with Wataru Endo providing the bite in midfield, while Dominik Szoboszlai will return to the starting XI after only appearing from the bench against Burnley. Ryan Gravenberch is most likely to complete the trio.
Up top, Darwin Nunez finally broke his goal drought against the Clarets and Klopp will be keen to allow him to build on that confidence — especially given his two-goal cameo the last time he faced Newcastle. On the flanks, Mohamed Salah is almost certain to start while Luis Diaz should take up his spot on the right.
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Newcastle predicted XI
If Klopp feels hard done by with Liverpool’s injury problems, he should try walking a mile in Eddie Howe’s shoes.
The Newcastle boss has been without as many as 13 players through injury and suspension at various points this season, with some serious juggling and reshuffling taking place. Things have eased somewhat recently, but Howe is still missing plenty of key personnel.
Martin Dubravka will continue in goal in the absence of Nick Pope, with Kieran Trippier soldiering on at right-back following some shakey recent performances. Sven Botman is building up fitness and should start again next to Fabian Schar at centre-back, with Dan Burn likely to feature again after completing 55 minutes against Nottingham Forest.
Bruno Guimares will continue to anchor the midfield alongside youngster Lewis Miley and Joelinton, who should return to the starting XI after only playing 20 minutes against Forest.
And up-front, Newcastle will need the energy and determination of Miguel Almiron and Anthony Gordon if they’re to stop Liverpool in wide areas. But they’ll also need to offer support to Alexander Isak through the middle, with the Sweden international likely to keep Callum Wilson benched again after ending his five-game goal drought (all comps) last time out.
Liverpool vs Newcastle: 5 key stats
- Liverpool have won their last five Premier League games against Newcastle and are unbeaten in 14 against them since a 2-0 loss in December 2015 (W10 D4).
- Newcastle have won none of their last 27 Premier League away games against Liverpool (D5 L22), since winning on their first ever visit, 2-0 in April 1994. Only Everton (28 at Chelsea, ongoing) have endured a longer winless away run against an opponent in the competition.
- Mohamed Salah’s next Premier League goal will be his 150th for Liverpool, making him the fifth player to reach the milestone with a single club in the competition (Harry Kane Spurs, Sergio Agüero Man City, Wayne Rooney Man Utd, Thierry Henry Arsenal).
- Anthony Gordon scored Newcastle’s goal in their 2-1 defeat to Liverpool in the reverse fixture in August. The last Magpies player to score home and away Premier League goals against the Reds in the same campaign was Alan Shearer in 1999-00.
- Liverpool have failed to win their first league game in any of the last three calendar years (D1 L2), going down 3-1 at Brentford in 2023. However, they’re unbeaten in five on New Year’s Day (W4 D1) since a 1-0 loss to Chelsea in 2005.
Liverpool vs Newcastle key players
To say Mohamed Salah is Liverpool’s man for the big occasion would be seriously understating it. The Egypt international’s list of favourite opponents reads like a who’s who of English football’s biggest teams and rivalries. 12 goals against Manchester United. 11 against Manchester City, Tottenham and West Ham. 10 against Arsenal. And we’re just getting started.
His record against Newcastle is slightly more modest, but he still has six goals and six assists in 14 appearances against the Magpies and what’s more, he’s never been on the losing side against them, winning 11 and drawing three times.
Salah needs only one more goal to reach 150 league goals for the club. In doing so, he’ll join Ian Rush, Billy Liddell, Gordon Hodgson and Roger Hunt as just the fifth player in Liverpool history to do so. Achieving that feat with a winner at Anfield to keep Liverpool top of the Premier League would be rather fitting.
He never managed it in a Merseyside derby, but Anthony Gordon finally had the pleasure of scoring his first goal against Liverpool the last time he faced them earlier this season. Unfortunately, Newcastle succumbed to a 13-minute masterclass from Darwin Nunez, but only after Gordon had given the Reds the proverbial runaround for most of the match.
Gordon has kicked on since then, with the former Everton winger now reaching six goals and four assists, with his 10 direct goal involvements the most of any Newcastle player.
Of course, there’s much more than that to Gordon’s game. The 22-year-old is best known for his relentless work rate, pace and ability to draw fouls in key areas. Gordon is going to be the key for Newcastle, who will look to play him behind Liverpool’s high line on the break.
A goal in a key result at Anfield would only serve to make those ever-growing England shouts get a little louder for Gordon.
How much will Liverpool miss Wataru Endo in January?
Just as he was starting to find his feet at Liverpool, Wataru Endo is preparing to jet off to represent Japan at the Asia Cup.
The timing couldn’t have been worse for player or club. After being used sparingly at the start of the season, Endo has now started each of Liverpool’s last five Premier League matches. His performance in the most recent one — a 2-0 win away at Burnley — was arguably his best, too, with Endo managing eight recoveries, three clearances and five of seven aerial duels won defensively, as well as contributing in the attack with two chances created, one shot, and going three for three on long passes.
“I loved this game, I have to say,” Klopp said of Endo after the match. “It’s a bit of a shame how he found his feet and now he goes to the Asian Cup but that’s how it is, it’s fine. What a boy and what a player and very important.
“At least in January we have to play more or less without him but against Newcastle, he is still here. Then the boys leave and then we have to find another way and we will. But for the moment, I am really happy for him. It took him a little bit [of time] that he really showed how good he really is, but now we can see it and I’m really happy about that.”
It’s not like Liverpool are short of options in midfield. They could easily field a trio right now of Szoboszlai, Gravenberch and Curtis Jones and have enough quality to see off any team in the Premier League, while the likes of Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic creep ever closer to a return to fitness as the days go by.
But if there’s one stat that proves Endo’s value to Liverpool, it’s that he has the highest points per match (2.36) of any player to play more than six matches this season.
A 30-year-old signed from Stuttgart who was meant to be a stopgap has very quickly become a key player for Liverpool. A brilliant two-way midfielder. Oh, how they may suffer without him in January.