5 things to look out for in Liverpool's trip to Newcastle United

Tom Barnes
10 months ago

Liverpool will look to extend their unbeaten start to the 2022/23 season when they travel to St James' Park to lock horns with Newcastle United on Sunday.

The Reds recorded their first win last weekend with a 3-1 victory over Bournemouth, after having to settle for a draw against Chelsea on the opening weekend.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were the only team to do the double over the Magpies last season and will be hoping to continue this fine form on their trip to Tyneside this weekend.

READ MORE: Newcastle United vs Liverpool – Match Preview

Here are five things to look out for on Sunday.

Who will partner Virgil van Dijk?

On Friday morning, Jurgen Klopp confirmed that Ibrahima Konate is a doubt Sunday’s game through injury.

The question will now be who might partner Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Liverpool’s defence against Eddie Howe’s side, if the Frenchman isn't fit enough to feature. Joel Matip? Joe Gomez?

Klopp also talked up youngster Jarell Quansah in his pre-match press conference, though the 20-year-old is unlikely to feature unless in an emergency situation.

Whoever replaces Konate on Sunday will have a huge job on their hands keeping the likes of Alexander Isak and Miguel Almiron quiet for 90 minutes.

With question marks already over the Reds' backline and defensive shape with Trent Alexander-Arnold pushing into midfield, the onus will be on whoever partners Van Dijk to cover a lot of space against one of the Premier League's most attacking teams.

A first Premier League start for Endo?

One thing that will make the Liverpool defenders’ lives easier is if Wataru Endo is presented his first Liverpool start since his move from Stuttgart last week.

With the likes of Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago sidelined for the duration of pre-season, the lack of a true holding midfielder has furthered Liverpool’s defensive frailties all summer. Conceding a concerning amount of goals.

A bright cameo against Bournemouth didn’t go a miss with the Liverpool fans with Endo’s energy and his ability to read the game becoming apparent.

A start for the Japanese captain will also allow Alexis Mac Allister to play in a less disciplined role, and allow him show off the skills he displayed for Brighton and during Argentina’s World Cup triumph.

Sunday’s game could be the firs time Liverpool’s starting midfield consist of their three new recruits: Endo, Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.

Will a forward drop to the bench?

Starting Endo sparks talking points in the attacking front too. Cody Gakpo has been playing in a midfield role in recent weeks but if we are to see midfield three of our summer signings, it’ll mean at the expense of a forward. But who that might be remains to be seen.

Whoever drops to the bench, a lineup with Endo starting offers more defensive security and even more firepower to bring off the bench. Two components that could prove vital if Liverpool are to get a positive result at Newcastle on Sunday.

Another goal for Luis Diaz?

Luis Diaz has enjoyed a fine start to the new Premier League season, scoring in both of Liverpool’s first two outings.

Another goal this weekend will see the Colombian become only the fourth Liverpool player in the Premier League era to score in the first three games of a season.

With immense competition in the forward line, Luis Diaz has done his chances no harm with his recent output in front of goal, and another goal on his 50th Reds appearance would cement that left wing spot his own even more.

Record for Jurgen Klopp?

Though Newcastle and Liverpool are pretty evenly matched these days, Klopp and Eddie Howe's record is incredibly one-sided.

The Liverpool boss has 12 wins out of 14 against Howe in all competitions since arriving in England in 2015 – including the Premier League double in 2022/23.

In fact, should Klopp get another victory on Sunday he will become the first ever Premier League coach to win 11 consecutive ties over another manager.


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