Connect with us

English Premier League

Newcastle United vs Liverpool – Match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

Jake Jackman

Published

on

Newcastle

One of the eye-catching fixtures of this weekend will take place at St James’ Park as Newcastle United host Liverpool. There have been a number of entertaining matches between the two down the years and it should be a similarly good watch for the neutrals this time around. Rafael Benitez will be taking on his former club and that adds a layer of extra intrigue to the contest, especially given Jurgen Klopp’s own struggles at Anfield of late.

It has been a mixed start to the season for the Magpies as they have compiled three wins and three losses in their first six matches. They will be relatively pleased with that, but narrow defeats against fellow promoted clubs Huddersfield Town and Brighton away from home will be seen as missed opportunities. Their style of play has been effective when playing against teams that are happy to play on the front-foot, but they need to find a different strategy when playing against the more defensive sides.

Liverpool are due to give a team a battering as they continue to create lots of clear-cut chances without getting the reward. Part of the reason for that is their own poor finishing in front of goal, but they have too much quality for that to continue. Jurgen Klopp will be looking for a reaction after their failure to beat Spartak Moscow in the Champions League, but it won’t be easy for them at St James’ Park.

Recent form

Newcastle recovered well from a poor start and have won three of their last four matches in the Premier League. During that period, they have conceded only two goals and they will look to be well organised against a dangerous Liverpool attack. They have looked a better side at home and that could play a part in the result this weekend as it will be a great atmosphere at St James’ Park.

During the month of September, Liverpool have picked up only one victory and that came last weekend against Leicester City. They have played six matches this month and they have been frustrated by a number of disappointing draws. Their schedule has been harsh on them, but they need to find a way to pick up wins even when they aren’t at their best.

Prediction line-ups

Benitez is likely to keep an unchanged team, despite the defeat to Brighton. Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle are two players that could come in, but the latter is more likely to start. It would be a risk to start Shelvey against a Liverpool team that will dominate possession. Gayle’s pace could be a good weapon to use, but it would be more effective from the bench.

Although they didn’t win during the week, Liverpool picked their best team and deserved a lot more from their match against Spartak Moscow. It is likely that they select the same team on Sunday.

Team news

Aleksandar Mitrovic will be back from suspension and could return to the match-day squad to face Liverpool. Florian Lejeune is a doubt as he returns from an ankle injury. Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara remain on the long-term injury list.

Sadio Mane is back available after serving a three-match domestic suspension. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are both some time away from a return to action.

Score prediction: Newcastle United 1-1 Liverpool

During his time in charge at St James’ Park, Rafael Benitez has an impressive ability to bounce back from a defeat and he will be motivated to earn a positive result against his former club. Liverpool are a good attacking team, but the Newcastle boss is great at exploiting weaknesses in an opposition team and there are a few to get at in the current Reds’ team. It will be a great atmosphere at St James’ Park and they should have enough to gain a point from the encounter.

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Leicester City

West Ham and Leicester should pounce for Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri

Published

on

Photo: Getty Images.

One player certain to be on the move this summer is Stoke City midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, who will put an end to an unhappy spell at the bet365 Stadium, but could still stay in the Premier League to West Ham or Leicester.

Sky Bet offer odds as low as 1/10 that Shaqiri will depart this summer, with West Ham the leading Premier League club in the betting at 8/1 and Leicester City not far behind at 10/1.

That’s not to say that a stay in England is certain, particularly given that the two Milan clubs are favourites with Inter at 6/1 and AC Milan at 13/2, with Lyon also in the running at 8/1 level with the Hammers.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The winger has not hidden his disappointment with the team’s struggles this season and the Potters now face an uphill battle if they are to avoid relegation from the top flight.

The Swiss international will not entertain the idea of playing second tier football after a decorated career has previously seen him play for the likes of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

Having failed to live up to expectations since Mark Hughes brought him to England in 2015, he may be keen to make the move abroad, but with finances likely to be more attractive to remain in the Premier League he may not rule out such a move.

Leicester could be forced to sign a replacement for Riyahd Mahrez whilst West Ham will also be looking for options out wide when Joao Mario’s loan spell comes to an end.

His pace, power and strength could catch the eye of both sides but they will have their work cut out to convince him to remain in England this summer.

Continue Reading

Everton

Liverpool fans will love who are favourites to sign Mario Balotelli

Published

on

Mario Balotelli
Photo: Getty Images.

Mario Balotelli is not a man who conjures up fond memories for Liverpool fans, but that could all be about to change if the betting is accurate in forecasting where he could move if he leaves OGC Nice this summer with one Premier League side leading the race to bring him back to England.

Whilst Serie A sides are the frontrunners in the betting to sign Mario Balotelli, there are also several English clubs in the mix, based on odds offered by Sky Bet. Favourites are the side that Liverpool fans would both find hilarious and dread in equal measure: Everton.

Odds on the controversial Italian moving to Goodison Park this summer are as low as 8/1, whilst West Ham are also in the running at 12/1.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The centre forward picked up more yellow cards, seven, than goals, four, during his time on Merseyside but has scored 39 goals in 61 games for his new club in France and insists he’s a new, mature man.

Italy still seems his most likely destination with Napoli and Juventus leading the odds, but a move to Everton would give Balotelli the chance to either redeem himself with Liverpool fans by failing as much as he did at Anfield, or rebuild his reputation in the country where he made his name with Manchester City.

The Toffees are desperate to add firepower up-front, but having been so disappointed by their business last summer it is hard to see how taking a gamble on a player as volatile as Balotelli would be a wise move.

That said, they know that the quality is clearly there within the player and may have the same hope as Brendan Rodgers did when he signed Balotelli for Liverpool, that they can bring him in cheap, get the best out of him and sell him on for a profit.

Continue Reading

Manchester United

Has Romelu Lukaku enjoyed a successful debut season at Manchester United?

The Belgian international has 27 goals in all competitions this season.

Martyn Cooke

Published

on

Romelu Lukaku
Photo: Getty Images

Expectations at Old Trafford have always been high.

Over the previous three decades, Manchester United have become one of the most successful club teams in Europe with Sir Alex Ferguson creating an era of dominance that brought success and trophies on a previously unprecedented scale.

His successors may not have been able to directly replicate his achievements, both David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal won just won FA Cup between them, but the raised bar that he set remains in place.

Expectations of individual players are also high, especially if you happen to be a striker.

Wayne Rooney, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Robin Van Persie, Eric Cantona, Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham are just a small selection of prestigious names that have shouldered the goal scoring responsibility at Old Trafford.

So, it would be fair to say that Romelu Lukaku has some rather large historical boots to fill.

The Belgian striker arrived at Old Trafford in the summer for an initial fee of £75 million after prolific spells with Everton and West Bromwich Albion.

He was brought in by Jose Mourinho to be the focal point of the Manchester United attack and to placate some of the goal scoring issues that the Portuguese coach had experience in his debut season with the club.

(Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A big-name striker, following in the footsteps of club legends, at a club that demands success – expectations were certainly high.

So, how do we rate Lukaku’s first season with Manchester United?

On Wednesday evening the Belgian climbed off the bench at the Vitality Stadium to score the goal that secured three points against Bournemouth. It was the 24-year-old’s 16th Premier League strike of the season and the 27th goal that he has netted in all competitions so far this campaign.

In basic terms, this season has been the most successful and prolific in front of goal in Lukaku’s career.

Mourinho has been using the Belgian as a lone striker and the focal point of Manchester United’s attack in a campaign in which the club has struggled to maintain pace with their cross-city rivals.

Lukaku has demonstrated that he possesses the pace, power and strength to become one of the leading strikers in world football and when he is fit, confident and on form the 24-year-old is as good as anyone else in the business.

However, despite his considerable goal return Lukaku has not been without his critics in his debut season at Old Trafford.

It has been suggested that the Belgian is a fast-track bully, a big-name that only scores against the so-called ‘smaller’ clubs and fails to produce when it really matters.

Critics point to the limited impact that he has had in matches against Manchester United’s direct rivals – he has scored only once against a top six-team this season.

Some supporters have also become increasingly frustrated that Mourinho’s reliance on Lukaku has seen game time restricted for players such as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

(Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

The duo started the game against Bournemouth in mid-week and flourished in the Belgian’s absence, offering a more mobile, pacey form of attack that has often been missing this season.

Finally, it is noticeable that Lukaku has been lagging behind somewhat in the Premier League goal scoring charts this campaign. He is currently the sixth leading scorer in the league and has found the back of the net 14 times fewer than Mohamed Salah and 10 times less than Harry Kane.

However, when analysing the 24-year-old’s performances this season it is also worth remembering the pragmatic style of play that Mourinho has utilised.

The Portuguese coach is renowned for his defensive approach against other top-six teams whilst even against so-called ‘lesser’ clubs Manchester United have struggled to produce an aesthetically pleasing style of play.

The fact that Lukaku is on track to score 30 goals this season given the general approach of his manager should be applauded, not derided.

The Belgian has undoubtedly been a success in his debut season at Old Trafford but there is certainly room for improvement next year. However, Lukaku is still only 24 and he still has an abundance of time to grow, improve and develop his game whilst the peak years of his career are still ahead of him.

Manchester United supporters will be hoping that his significant goal return this season is just the start and that Lukaku will be able to build on the relative success of his debut campaign and push his game onto the next level next year.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 The Boot Room.