Over the years, these two sides have produced some memorable encounters, but what will happen in the Premier League this Saturday? We preview the game between Newcastle and Liverpool and give our pre-match prediction for the St. James’ Park clash.
Newcastle United vs. Liverpool: The Quick Hits
- Unlucky for Newcastle as their winless run against Liverpool in the Premier League extends to 13, according to our pre-match prediction
- The Magpies unbeaten run ends at 17 games, their first defeat since the 2-1 reversal earlier in the season
- Could Mohamed Salah equal Robbie Fowler’s goal scoring record for the Reds?
It’s a meeting of two teams who get the emotions going. And that’s even ignoring the back-to-back 4-3s at Anfield in the mid-1990s and just focusing the games played on Tyneside:
May 2019, Divock Origi’s late winner ensures the title race, that Liverpool had led by as much as seven points at one point, would go down to a final-day decider that Manchester City would eventually claim.
April 2013, The Reds run rampage over the Magpies, winning 6-0 despite Luis Suarez being banned having bitten Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic the previous week.
December 2010, Alan Pardew’s first game in charge of Newcastle United ends in a 3-1 triumph with Roy Hodgson removed as Liverpool manager less than a month later.
Even August 1998, Ruud Gullit’s unveiling as Newcastle manager completely overshadowed by a Michael Owen hat-trick as the Reds took a 4-1 victory.
From that, it seems like we can book ourselves in for plenty of goals on Saturday, doesn’t it?
Well, Newcastle United are winless in their last 12 Premier League meetings against Liverpool. That last victory came when Steve McClaren was at the helm, with a 2-0 home triumph in December 2015.
That’s all in the history books though. Right now, Newcastle are soaring. This will be the first time they’ve faced the Reds while being at least five places above them in the Premier League table since September 2006 (an even that was a very embryonic league table).
We are much deeper into the season here with a far greater and deeper understanding of each side’s form and fortunes.
Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle United: 31 August 2022 (Premier League)
Back in August it took yet another last-minute winner for Liverpool to record a Premier League victory, their 40th in the 90th minute in the competition’s history.
Fabio Carvalho proved the difference on that occasion with the Reds perhaps somewhat suffering from a goal-induced hangover following their 9-0 thrashing of Bournemouth at the weekend.
Alexander Isak made an immediate impression on his debut for the Magpies, putting them ahead after just six minutes and becoming the sixth Swede to score on their Premier League bow and the first since a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Manchester United in 2016.
But strikes from Roberto Firmino and Carvalho meant it was the 10th time that Liverpool had come from behind to beat Newcastle in a Premier League fixture – a competition record only matched by Manchester United against both Southampton and Newcastle.
The reality five and a half months later though is perhaps THIS was the high point in the Premier League for Liverpool this season?
Because since losing that game, Newcastle United are unbeaten in their last 17 Premier League games, their joint-longest run without defeat in league history (matching their feats in the 2009-10 Championship season).
This has been built on the back of a solid defence. They’ve not conceded more than once in a match during this 17-game run and with seven clean sheets already to their name at home in the Premier League this season, that’s more than any other side.
That all adds up to the Magpies conceding the fewest goals of any team so far this season (13), and whilst they don’t own the record for the lowest expected goals against (Manchester City, 17.4) – the differential between their goals conceded and their xGA (20.6) is the best of any team in the division (-7.6).
In other words, the ‘average’ opponent would have scored 20 goals against them, but the Magpies have only shipped 13. Full credit to Nick Pope who has played all 22 games so far this season as he stakes a claim for the England number one jersey.
The only issue for him is the team with the next best differential is Everton (30 goals conceded, 37.4 xGA) so he might face a continued battle to wrestle it away from Jordan Pickford. Remember the days of England’s struggles in goal? They seem far away now.
For Liverpool, it’s a heavy case of the away day blues, with just two victories in their last 10 away from Anfield in the Premier League (D2 L6), losing their last three in a row.
There’s a difference between slipping to a couple of unlucky defeats and the maulings the Reds have taken. 3-1 against Brentford, 3-0 to Brighton and then of course 3-0 versus Wolves last time out. We had to raid our database to find out the last time Liverpool shipped three or more goals in four consecutive away league matches and finally found it happened in September 1954, when they were playing in the second tier. That season they recorded their lowest-ever Football League final position of 11th, having briefly flirted with relegation to the Third Division North.
Things aren’t quite that bad for the Reds right now (mainly because relegation to a regional round would see them slip into the National League North, some five divisions below where they are) but they last lost four consecutive away games in the top-flight in April 2012, when Kenny Dalglish was in charge. The final game in that run? A 2-0 defeat at St. James’ Park against Newcastle. That’s a feat that Jurgen Klopp is going to be keen to avoid.
Players to Watch
Newcastle United: Alexander Isak
It hasn’t exactly gone the Swedish forward’s way since his alleged club record transfer from Real Sociedad. That debut goal at Anfield promised a lot, but a hamstring injury just a few weeks later ruled him out of action, with his start against Bournemouth last time out the first time he’s played 90 Premier League minutes since September.
Eddie Howe has been insistent that Isak will be stronger for having played the full game last time out but some of that might have been due to necessity. Callum Wilson might be fit to return to the squad, alongside Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron who both suffered knocks in the draw with the Cherries, but the loss of Bruno Guimaraes due to suspension will be a blow with Joe Willock the latest to join their ever-growing injury list.
Maybe Howe will be tempted to play two up front, as he did in the dying moments against Fulham where Wilson and Isak combined to seal a late victory, albeit it with the Swede playing in a slightly deeper role. Another goal here and Isak would become the first Newcastle player to score both home and away against Liverpool in a Premier League season since Alan Shearer (1999-00). Now that’s one way to win a place in the hearts of those in the Gallowgate End.
Liverpool: Mohamed Salah
Is Mo Salah starting to return to his best?
The Egyptian produced a dominating display in Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Everton, scoring the opening goal whilst registering nine shots and attempting ten dribbles during the match, both of which were season highs.
Was that down to Salah finding a way to play alongside the chaos-merchant Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo or the Reds midfield, including Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, finally returning to their best form too?
Either way, Salah stands on 126 Premier League goals for Liverpool, just two shy of equalling Robbie Fowler’s record of their highest scorer in the competition. Could he do it against Newcastle? He’s been directly involved in nine goals in his last 10 league appearances against the Magpies (six goals, three assists). If he truly is back to his best don’t be surprised if he finds himself equalling one of the city’s favourite son’s feats.
Newcastle United vs Liverpool Prediction
Whether it’s Salah or not, the Opta supercomputer is fully on board with Liverpool coming out on top at St. James’ Park, giving Jurgen Klopp’s side exactly a 50% chance of winning.
It feels bold, yes, but our prediction model really is leaning into the fact the Reds are unbeaten in their last five away league games against Newcastle (W3 D2).
It doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that Newcastle United might pick up the victory (22.9%), but Eddie Howe’s miserable run against Liverpool as a manager looks set to continue having won just one of his previous 16 matches against them in all competitions (D1, L14).
Whilst Manchester City’s victory over Arsenal meant it was all change at the top of our season long prediction model, this fixture is also going to have ramifications in the battle for UEFA Champions League qualification spots next season.
Newcastle are favourites to secure a fourth-place finish (30.3%) in the table and with it access to Europe’s elite tournament. But their biggest rivals for that appear to be the Reds even though they are languishing down in ninth place in the table. Right now, our supercomputer believes Liverpool will fall just short and most likely finish fifth but a Reds victory on Saturday could change all that.