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A combination of effective January spending and the hard work of Eddie Howe and his coaching staff have transformed Newcastle from relegation contenders into top-half hopefuls for the final few weeks of the season, and optimism could not be higher among the Magpies fanbase at present.
Newcastle’s brilliant Brazilians were in full flow at Carrow Road in a 3-0 triumph for Howe’s side last weekend, as Joelinton bagged a brace before new boy Bruno Guimaraes kept up his hot goalscoring streak with a delightful chip early in the second half.
A four-game winning streak is just what the doctor ordered for Newcastle before a meeting with the quadruple-chasing Reds, and the Magpies have now risen to ninth in the rankings with four games left to play. Incredibly, a top-seven finish and spot in European competition is not mathematically impossible for the North East club either.
Newcastle’s quartet of victories has also seen them concede just one goal in the process, although such resilience will be tested to the maximum against Liverpool, and Howe has also overseen a run of six consecutive Premier League victories at St James’ Park.
Not since before Christmas have the Magpies suffered a top-flight defeat in front of the home crowd, but Liverpool have recent experience when it comes to defeating previously stern opposition ahead of a game that they reportedly asked the Premier League to reschedule amid the tight turnaround.
Magpies boss Howe is still working without his quartet of long-term absentees in Kieran Trippier, Callum Wilson, Jamal Lewis and Isaac Hayden, while Ryan Fraser is fighting a battle to return before the end of the season too.
Joelinton came off with a knock at Carrow Road but is not thought to be nursing anything serious, and a return to a deeper role for the Brazilian could see Chris Wood come back in to lead the line.
Howe also elected to leave Miguel Almiron, Fabian Schar and Jonjo Shelvey out of the starting lineup for the win over Norwich, but having had a full week to recover from that triumph, the trio may all be drafted back into the side here.
Liverpool, meanwhile, remain well-stocked despite the hectic period towards the end of the season, with Roberto Firmino‘s foot problem the only injury concern for Klopp at the time of writing, and the Brazilian is set to miss out once again.
The Reds boss was without Curtis Jones and Kostas Tsimikas in midweek due to illness, and while Jones is set to remain absent, Tsimikas should return and may challenge Andy Robertson for the left-back spot.
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Klopp’s rotation policy will certainly strike again for the lunchtime kickoff, with Joel Matip, Naby Keita, Diogo Jota and maybe even Joe Gomez coming back into the side this week.
Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Krafth, Schar, Burn, Targett; Shelvey, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Wood, Saint-Maximin
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Henderson, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Mane, Jota