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Premier League

  • 11 December 2010
  • • 17:30
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Referee: L. Mason
  • • Attendance: 50137
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Newcastle United - Liverpool Preview: Torres back for visitors and Gerrard misses out as Alan Pardew faces challenging first game as manager

Newcastle United - Liverpool Preview: Torres back for visitors and Gerrard misses out as Alan Pardew faces challenging first game as manager

TEAM NEWS

Newcastle

Alan Pardew will be able to call upon Joey Barton as the midfielder returns from suspension, but it looks as if captain Kevin Nolan (ankle) will remain sidelined.

Steve Harper (collar bone) returned to action this week, saving a penalty as his side cruised to a 7-1 victory in a specially arranged practice game against Middlesbrough. Despite featuring for 65 minutes, it’s expected that Harper’s deputy Tim Krul will keep his place in goal against Liverpool.

With centre-backs Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson still suspended, expect Sol Campbell and Steven Taylor to start at the heart of Newcastle’s defence. Other absentees include Ryan Taylor (ankle), Hatem Ben Arfa (leg) and Dan Gosling (knee).

Possible starting XI: Krul; Simpson, S Taylor, Campbell, Enrique; Routledge, Barton, Tiote, Gutierrez; Carroll, Ameobi.

Liverpool

Captain Steven Gerrard (hamstring) and Daniel Agger (calf) are on the verge of returning to the first team squad but manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed that both will miss out on the trip to Tyneside.

With Jamie Carragher (shoulder) out for the next few months, Liverpool will continue with the powerful combination of Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Martin Skrtel at centre-back.

Fernando Torres missed last weekend’s 3-0 win against Aston Villa as his wife gave birth to their child, meaning that the Spaniard will return to the starting line-up for the visitors. Jay Spearing (ankle) is the only other absentee for Liverpool.

Possible starting XI: Reina; Johnson, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Konchesky; Kuyt, Meireles, Lucas, Maxi; Ngog, Torres.

How not to run a football club

It has been a whirlwind of a week for Newcastle. They parted company with their manager Chris Hughton due a perceived lack of experience, only to replace him with Alan Pardew – whose CV hardly embarrasses his predecessors’. Mike Ashley clearly is a man who aspires to be pantomime villain No.1 in the North East this Christmas.

Murmurs of discontent abound, with fans promising to demonstrate against the appointment ahead of the game on Saturday. Suffice to say, if Pardew can deliver three points on Saturday there will be a heavy sigh of relief within the corridors of power at St James’. Newcastle are sliding down the table, and don’t have much breathing space before they are sucked into the mire.

Consistency is the key for Hodgson’s Reds


It’s been a peculiar season for Liverpool, by all accounts they’ve been far from brilliant thus far - yet they sit in eighth position in the league. The problem has been securing back-to-back wins in the league, with the victories against Blackburn, Bolton and Chelsea the only consecutive triumphs the club have tasted this term.

The trip up to Tyneside is as good an opportunity as any to put this right. Newcastle’s home form has been unspectacular this season, and with new boss Alan Pardew promising an attacking brand of football, there could be ample opportunity for Liverpool to strike on the counter. The Reds will be hoping three points would start to see them pull away from the middle of the Premier League pile and towards the coveted Champions League spots.

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Players to watch

J. Barton

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Tough times call for tougher characters, and there are few more resilient in the Premier League than Joey Barton. Returning from suspension with a point to prove, the Liverpudlian will want to build on the good run of form that led to some calling for his inclusion in the England squad to face France last month.

With Steven Gerrard missing for Liverpool and Raul Meireles likely to entrusted with a more attacking role, Lucas Leiva will be on defensive duties. Although improving, it will be interesting to see whether the youngster can contain the combative Barton.

Raul Meireles

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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  • 0
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The Portuguese midfielder has shown glimpses of his quality since arriving from his homeland in the summer and the trip up north will provide a good measure of his progress. With Fernando Torres returning to the starting line-up, it will be critical that the Spaniard receives enough possession in the right areas and Meireles will have this responsibility on his shoulders.

He’ll be up against a quality and widely underrated opponent in Cheik Tiote, but if Meireles can establish his class in a game like this, then it’ll be a sign that Liverpool have a real player amongst their ranks.

Editor's Prediction

Liverpool haven’t been good enough away from home this season, and in normal circumstances you wouldn’t back them to take three points back to Merseyside, but it’s difficult to see Newcastle putting their troubles to one side to see out the victory. Alan Pardew badly needs to get his tenure off to a good start, but may well end his big day in disappointment.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Newcastle United

Liverpool

Wins
2
1
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Newcastle United FC NEW
Newcastle United FC Newcastle United
Draw
Liverpool FC LIV
Liverpool FC Liverpool
86%

Top 3 Predictions

Newcastle United FC NEW
0 - 2
Liverpool FC LIV
Newcastle United FC NEW
1 - 2
Liverpool FC LIV
Newcastle United FC NEW
0 - 3
Liverpool FC LIV

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