Newcastle United vs Liverpool: Five Key Battles

St James Park

Newcastle will be hoping to finally put to bed any relegation fears against a Suarez-less Liverpool in one of the traditionally excellent fixtures in England's top flight.

Here is a run-down of the key battles...

Papiss Cisse vs Jamie Carragher

Broken ribs have not been able to stop Cisse in recent weeks, and Newcastle have been fortunate that his scoring touch has returned as they have been otherwise blunt over the past month. Carragher's form has seen him reclaim a place in Brendan Rodgers' first team, but the 35 year old is still vulnerable against mobile forwards, and Cisse could get plenty of joy if given space by the veteran defender.

Steven Taylor vs Daniel Sturridge

With no Luis Suarez to call on, Rodgers will likely play Sturridge through the middle on Saturday evening. Sturridge was in inspired form against his former club Chelsea last weekend, and Liverpool will hope he can reproduce that level in their remaining games this season now the Uruguayan has been banned. Taylor has had a fine year for Newcastle in a constantly shifting back four, and he will lead the defence against Sturridge and company this weekend.

Yohan Cabaye vs Lucas Leiva

Both Cabaye and Lucas have had an injury ravaged year, and neither has quite been as influential as fans would have hoped over the past few weeks. However Cabaye is a key part of the Newcastle team, and Lucas will need to monitor the Frenchman carefully to ensure he does not have free reign to build their attacks or indeed line-up long range efforts on the Liverpool goal.

Mathieu Debuchy vs Philippe Coutinho

Coutinho was ineffectual against Chelsea last Sunday but given the relative lack of options in Liverpool's attack he will likely start again against Newcastle. In his short time in England he has already demonstrated plenty of talent, and Debuchy will have a hard time keeping tabs on the young Brazilian. Without Suarez, Liverpool's attack is a very different animal, and if Debuchy can keep Coutinho out of the match, they will find it hard to create chances.

Yoann Gouffran vs Glen Johnson

Over the past couple of matches Gouffran has taken on a more central role for Newcastle, cutting in off his nominal position on the left flank to good effect. His goal against West Brom was well taken, and Liverpool's defence will need to keep track of Gouffran whether wide or in the centre. However if Gouffran does regularly abandon his flank Newcastle will have to be sure to cover Glen Johnson when he roves forward, as if he can help overload their left back Liverpool will have a very dangerous outlet down the right.

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