Liverpool are so close, yet so far.
May has well and truly crept up on us and Liverpool are still knocking around in both the Premier League and Champions League with a realistic, yet unrealistic at the same time, chance of doing the double.
At the very least they could win one of the big trophies, yet at the very worst we could win neither.
That worst case scenario does now appear to be the most likely but this is Liverpool Football Club and we don’t achieve things the easy way, it never comes easy, you would probably be paranoid if we were leading this title race with 2 games to go and 6 points ahead.
Yet we’re chasing, in both the league and in Europe, and hell hath no fury like Anfield scorned.
A win at St.James Park and Liverpool take this to the final day. We go into the final day of the Premier League season with a chance of winning the title, regardless of what Manchester City do on Monday night.
We have to get there though. We have to be in with that chance. Because get to the final day of the season and you just never know.
Will we do it? Lets take a look into more detail what factors will determine the result in the North-East on Saturday night.
BACK ON THE SADDLE IN NEWCASTLE
Newcastle should prove dangerous opponents having won six of their last seven at St. James’ Park, including a victory over Man City, though this run also featured wins over bottom-six outfits Cardiff, Huddersfield, Burnley and Southampton, while the Magpies haven’t fared well in the remaining encounters against ‘Big Six’ opposition.
They’ve lost each of their other 10 such games, though aside from a 4-0 defeat in the reverse fixture at Anfield, none of those losses came by more than two strikes as seven saw the Magpies downed by just the solitary goal, with five of these finishing 2-1 to their opponents.
We may have seen our 10-game winning streak across all competitions come to an abrupt end, but it’s not as though we had no chances against the Catalans, while Barcelona are a world away from Newcastle and we ought to resume where we left off.
BOBBY SURELY TO RETURN
Jurgen Klopp threw a couple of tactical spanners into the works against the Spanish giants and it didn’t pay off particularly well.
It was always going to be tough on Joe Gomez to make his first start upon returning from injury against Barcelona, and so the attacking talents of Trent Alexander-Arnold should be utilized here with a draw simply not of much use.
— RedsBet (@Reds_Bet) May 2, 2019
Roberto Firmino should also come back into the side, with Georginio Wijnaldum unable to influence the game midweek in a forward role, while he wasn’t able to drop in to prevent Sergio Busquets from maintaining his usual pass rate either.
Newcastle don’t possess a metronome like him that needs stopping though, and whereas taking the game to Barcelona can leave you exposed, the Magpies will be more concerned with tucking their wing-backs in tight to prevent space between them and the three centre-backs for Mo Salah and Sadio Mane to exploit.
TOON HERO PEREZ LIKELY TO MISS OUT
Naby Keita limped out of the midweek clash after 24 minutes, which was a cruel blow for the Guinean on what was set to be his biggest night in a Liverpool shirt, following a series of encouraging displays recently and goals against Southampton, Porto and Huddersfield.
With Roberto Firmino returning to action midweek, albeit from the bench, our only other absentee is Adam Lallana, who wasn’t in with a shout for the first team anyway.
Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez has to sweat a little over the fitness of Ayoze Perez, though the Spaniard is expected to be fit to start, but losing January signing Miguel Almiron to a hamstring issue was hardly ideal even if the Paraguayan is yet to register a goal in 10 appearances for the club.
Rafa Benitez is doing a fantastic job at Newcastle given the constant drama surrounding the club and a lack of serious investment. However, quality often shines through and the Magpies can’t hide from their record against the ‘Big Six’, with the victory over Man City one of those rare anomalies.
They’re not typically the type of team to be embarrassed though, while they’ve shown some pedigree going forwards on home turf of late, and so the winning margin and correct scores appeal to us.
*Odds are subject to change