Newcastle United will take on defending champions Liverpool in the last Premier League game of the calendar year at St James’ Park on Wednesday, 30 December 2020.
Liverpool will be keen to extend their winning streak against Newcastle, having won their last five Premier League matches against the Magpies, including a 3-1 double last season.
Newcastle United Betting Preview
Winless in four games across all competitions (1 draw and 3 losses), including a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Brentford in the League Cup quarter-finals just before Christmas, the Magpies will hope to mimic WBA’s weekend performance and possibly earn something when they take on the reigning champions on Wednesday.
We must admit that Newcastle’s poor form is surely affected by the fact that Steve Bruce’s men were hit hard by a coronavirus outbreak that eventually led to the postponement of their match against Aston Villa a few weeks ago. Furthermore, some key players are still recovering after a hard bout of the virus and remains to be seen whether they’re in condition to participate in Newcastle’s last match of the calendar year.
Newcastle’s top goalscorer Callum Wilson (8 goals and 3 assists in 12 Premier League appearances) remained an unused substitute at Man City but the experienced centre-forward will surely be recalled to the starting XI by Steve Bruce.
Javier Manquillo could also start against his former club whereas fellow full-back Jamal Lewis, who was linked with a potential move to Liverpool this summer, could also get the nod over Matt Ritchie. However, such a move could possibly see Matt Ritchie deployed in midfield.
A groin injury is expected to keep out both Ryan Fraser and former Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey once again on Wednesday, while Sean Longstaff could start in central midfield, at the expense of his younger brother Matthew.
Matty Longstaff enjoyed his first start of the season at the Еtihad and despite his side’s defeat, Steve Bruce himself was pleased with the youngster’s performance. However, considering the workload and the busy schedule, Bruce could opt for Sean in this one.
Shelvey was not involved in the squad that travelled to the Etihad on Boxing Day, but latest reports suggest there is a chance he could return to the fold for Wednesday’s encounter with Liverpool.
Skipper Jamaal Lascelles and winger Allan Saint-Maximin remain the two long-term covid victims, although the former was seen at the training base last week and has begun to take part in some light sessions but the clash against the Reds could come too soon for either of them.
Welsh defender Paul Dummett and Irish midfielder Jeff Hendrick are also doubts for the Magpies here.
Liverpool Betting Preview
The Reds may have enjoyed being top of the table at Christmas for a third year in a row but the festive mood quickly disappeared when Sam Allardyce once again managed to break into Jurgen Klopp’s tactics and his West Bromwich Albion side heroically earned a point at Anfield.
It seemed that Jurgen Klopp’s side were massively encouraged and were ready to easily deal with WBA’s resistance on the back of a tremendous 7-0 win at Crystal Palace in their last game before Christmas. However, the Reds will have to forget this one and focus on what’s coming up next if they want to bounce back and maintain a distance from the chasing pack.
All in all, the champions have struggled away from their Anfield this season too, although their last away match saw them run riot in a 7-0 hammering of Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side.
Joel Matip suffered another injury setback against WBA and the experienced defender could be out for the foreseeable future, meaning that Jurgen Klopp’s defensive crisis is once again worsening so he should choose between either Rhys Williams or Nathaniel Phillips.
Rhys Williams did well deputizing during the central defensive crisis of October and November, also replacing Matip against the Baggies, and the nineteen-year-old Liverpool Academy graduate looks set to retain his place and will likely start alongside Fabinho at St James’ Park.
Naby Keita is also out for the Merseysiders, but Thiago Alcantara is expected back to the matchday squad against Newcastle, having featured only twice since joining the Merseyside club this summer, while fellow midfielder Alex Oxlade Chamberlain could even get his first Premier League start of the season, coming off the bench late in each of the last two games.
In another boost, Jurgen Klopp should be pleased to welcome back veteran James Milner, whose versatility is always beneficial to the squad, and Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri into the group for the journey to the North East, as the pair remained on the bench against West Brom.
It wouldn’t be a surprise, to be honest, to see at least one of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Bobby Firmino rested here, with Takumi Minamino being a potential replacement as the Japanese scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool to inspire the 7-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Kostas Tsimikas and Diogo Jota both suffered knee injuries in the meaningless (in terms of ranking) Champions League clash against FC Midtjylland earlier this month and could spend a couple of more weeks on the sidelines, ruling them out for the early days of 2021.
Liverpool’s extensive injury list is also filled with the names of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk, who will hardly play again in 2020-21.
Possible Starting Lineups of Newcastle and Liverpool
Newcastle United: Karl Darlow – Javier Manquillo, Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernández, Fabian Schär, Jamal Lewis – Matt Ritchie, Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Joelinton – Callum Wilson. (5-4-1)
Liverpool: Alisson – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Rhys Williams, Fabinho, Andy Robertson – Jordan Henderson, Wijnaldum, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain – Mohamed Salah, Takumi Minamino, Sadio Mane. (4-3-3)
Spooky Express Betting Prediction
Jurgen Klopp would hope to see a proper reaction by his players and as he said “We don’t live in dreamland”, so the Reds are challenged – it’s up to them whether they’ll reveal their full potential and return to winning ways against a Newcastle side that could be considerably weakened as well.
Exactly like his experienced Premier League counterpart Sam Allardyce, Steve Bruce will hope to counter Jurgen Klopp’s approach with a tight defense and fluidity between the lines that could possibly set up some well-organized counter-attacks during the game, with the difference that unlike Big Sam, Bruce could rely on a proven striker like Callum Wilson, who has the killing instinct and of course an ability to score goals.
With that said, we expect both sides to score but Liverpool to win the match as they are very capable of outscoring Newcastle.
Spooky Express Parlay: Both teams to score – Yes + Liverpool to win the match +138 @ BetOnline for 5/10 Units