Newcastle vs Liverpool: Five factors to decide the game

The in-form Merseysiders travel to take on Alan Pardew’s men at St James’ Park on Saturday, with both sides looking for three invaluable points.

Newcastle against Liverpool has thrown up some memorable fixtures over the years, with goals galore traditionally being netted when the two meet.

A couple of epic 4-3 encounters from the days of Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore still stick in the memory, while the Reds recorded a whopping 6-0 victory in the North East last term.

The sides meet again on Saturday, with a couple of key battles across the pitch set to decide the outcome of the game.

Can Newcastle stop SAS?

Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez have looked devastating in tandem since the Uruguayan returned from suspension, and the pair will pose a real threat to the hosts’ back four this weekend. With Fabricio Coloccini set to miss the clash through injury, Alan Pardew needs to formulate a plan to stop the Liverpool strikers.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has not lived up to pre-signing expectations, but can expect to be busy on Saturday, while Pardew may consider deploying Cheick Tiote in defensive midfield if available to limit the pair’s space. If not properly shackled, SAS have the ability to tear the Geordies apart.

Newcastle overload against Liverpool’s wing-backs

With Brendan Rodgers switching to 3-5-2, Newcastle will look to expose the visitors on the flanks. Hatem Ben Arfa will look to get space in behind forward-thinking wing-backs, with the likes of former Newcastle man Jose Enrique having to focus on his positioning.

With the home team possessing attacking full-backs in the form of Mathieu Debuchy and Davide Santon also, Newcastle could get joy on the flanks.

Cabaye vs Gerrard

The midfield battle looks set to be a key feature in the outcome of the game, with two lynchpins in good form for the respective sides. Yohan Cabaye will look to run the home side’s possession game, and unleash the likes of Ben Arfa with his range of passing. Steven Gerrard’s main role will be to prohibit this.

The clash between two of the Premier League’s best central midfielders should be a fascinating one, with Vurnon Anita and Jordan Henderson also fighting for dominance in the boiler room.

Can Remy make it six from six?

Loic Remy has started life in the North East in explosive form, netting five goals in as many games for Pardew’s men. A return to the France national set-up will only boost his confidence further, and Liverpool will need to restrict the loanee’s sights of goal.

Whether Daniel Agger is restored to the Liverpool defence remains to be seen, but the Reds’ rearguard will have their hands full with the former Marseille marksman.

Newcastle and Liverpool vs expectancy

Both sides have pressure on them to deliver over the course of the season. The home faithful expect their team to give anyone a game on home soil and if they start well will have the backing of the St James’ fans.

Having won five of their first seven games, Liverpool’s ability to challenge for the top four is finally seemingly being realised. Tough games like this are par for the course for top-four contenders, and there is an expectation on Rodgers’ men to get a positive result.

image: © akuppa

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