Liverpool are imperious at Anfield. They have won all but one of their eight home games in the Premier League this season, scoring 18 goals and conceding just twice in the process.
Manchester United were their latest victims. Jurgen Klopp’s side were rampant in their 3-1 victory, which resulted in the dismissal of Jose Mourinho.
The hope will be for a similar result and performance against Newcastle, who have enjoyed an upturn in form over the last few weeks. Rafa Benitez returns to Anfield with his side unbeaten in four games on the road.
Newcastle, then, may prove stubborn opposition. Liverpool cannot afford to drop points, though. Manchester City are hot on their heels in the race for the Premier League title.
Here are out three betting tips for the match.
A game of few goals
Liverpool are, of course, more than capable of putting a few past Newcastle. But recent form suggests this could be a tighter affair than the league table might imply.
The Magpies have, in their last four away games, conceded just two goals. They are impressively stingy on the road: only Liverpool and Manchester City have conceded fewer goals away from home.
Conversely, Newcastle have only scored seven, and they come up against the division’s best defensive unit. Do not be surprised, then, if this is a game of few goals.
Liverpool will expect to dominate, to spend most of the game in Newcastle’s half. But Benitez’s side have proven themselves to be most effective when sitting back in a compact shape.
Mane to score again
It has been an excellent goal scoring season for Sadio Mane so far. He scored his seventh league goal in the win against Manchester United, converting Fabinho’s chipped pass with a superb volley.
The Senegalese forward will have his eye on more goals when Newcastle visit Anfield. His direct running from deep areas, his ability to cut incisively through a packed defence, could be key against a side who will inevitably look to frustrate Liverpool.
Mane had endured something of a goal drought before scoring against United. But now he is back in form. Don’t be surprised if he adds another goal to his name on Boxing Day.
Liverpool to win
As previously mentioned, Newcastle are unlikely to roll over for Liverpool. They will be stubborn and resilient, so a big scoreline in the hosts’ favour seems unlikely.
The Reds will be strong favourites, though, and few will back Newcastle despite their recent results away from home.
Liverpool should win, and Virgil van Dijk and co should keep their eleventh clean sheet of the league campaign.
*Odds subject to change
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by Tom Bodell