Predicted Liverpool XI to play Newcastle United - Johnson to miss out, Lucas to slot back in

Lucas Leiva

Liverpool need a win against Newcastle United this Saturday to stay at least joint top of the Premier League.

The international break is over and the Premier League returns and Brendan Rodgers will be feeling fortunate that his first choice players all avoided bad injuries while away on international duty.

Joe Allen, Aly Cissokho and Glen Johnson could feature this weekend after making good progress in their recovery from injuries, but whether Rodgers will make any fundamental changes to his eleven is questionable. Philippe Coutinho is also back in training following a shoulder problem.

Here’s the side he may go with.

GK – Simon Mignolet

Mignolet is Liverpool’s number one and fans can expect him to start. He’s improving all the time in terms of his all round game and he’s already shown numerous times this season that he can step up and make the difference in high pressure situations.

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RCD – Kolo Toure

Toure has been a revelation since he signed for the club as a free agent over the summer. The temptation for Rodgers will be to slot Johnson back in at right-back reverting to a more conventional back four but if it’s not broken, don’t try and fix it.

CB – Martin Skrtel

It’s unfortunate for Daniel Agger but expect to see Martin Skrtel continue in the heart of the Liverpool defence. The Slovakian has turned things around after suggestions that he would leave the club over the summer and he’s one of the side’s most important defenders at the moment.

LCD – Mamadou Sakho

On the left side of Liverpool’s defence Mamadou Sakho is likely to continue. Sakho had a shaky start in Liverpool colours but he’s since improved dramatically and should be looking to build on the momentum he has created.

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RM – Jordan Henderson

Lucas should come straight back into the side following a suspension, which means Henderson should revert to a position on the right of Liverpool’s midfield. His work rate ensures that he’ll drop down into a defensive position next to Toure when Liverpool are under pressure.

DM – Lucas

Lucas should come back into the side and play the holding role in front of the back three. He’s been superb this season in terms of mopping up, winning the ball back and getting attacks started with a range of basic passes.

CM – Steven Gerrard

Gerrard will be high on confidence after scoring for England against Poland and producing a superb performance as England’s captain. Rodgers doesn’t have to think about Gerrard’s role in the side, pulling the strings in the middle and controlling the tempo of Liverpool’s attacking play.

AM – Victor Moses

Moses has been very good playing just in behind the main two strikers. His versatility means he can drift over to the left if Jose Enrique has to drop into the defence, with Liverpool reverting to a back four. His touch and skill on the ball is good enough for him to play consistently in this position.

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LM – Jose Enrique

The Spaniard may start on the left of Liverpool’s midfield but he may not always stay there. He can drop off into a normal central defensive position and he can also bomb on and stay camped in the opponent’s attacking third.

ST – Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge wasn’t at his best during the international break with England but he’ll still be confident because of recent performances for Liverpool. He’ll generally occupy the left hand side of attack, allowing Luis Suarez to command the central areas.

ST – Luis Suarez

The 26-year-old looks as though he’s never been away from the team and he’s bang in form with three goals in his last two league matches for the club. Suarez will play centrally but will also drift to either side of the attack based on the space and how he reads the game.

What do you think? Should Liverpool revert to a normal 4-4-2?

image: © faisalzaman

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