Newcastle v Liverpool: Furious Reds to bounce back

Liverpool don't lack motivation after slipping up against West Brom, and Kevin Hatchard reckons they'll take out their frustration on a limited Newcastle.

Newcastle United v Liverpool
Wednesday 30 December, 20:00
Live on Amazon Prime

Magpies are far from magical

If you look at Newcastle's involvement in the Premier League through an emotionless lens, as it appears owner Mike Ashley has done for many years, there is no reason for dissatisfaction. The team has no European entanglements to distract from the retention of Premier League status, there is a seven-point gap (at time of writing) between the Magpies and the relegation zone, and manager Steve Bruce is a local man who seems unlikely to make any unreasonable demands.

And yet of course, emotion is part of football, especially for a passionate fanbase that yearns for a team that can challenge for more. A side that can quicken the pulse, a group of players who can turn dreams of achievement into something tangible. For those demoralised supporters, a limp League Cup quarter-final exit at Championship side Brentford was a bitter blow, the dashing of dreams that focused on a first domestic cup final since 1999.

The irony is that manager Steve Bruce is one of these Newcastle fans who wants the team to deliver more, but the fear of failure seems to have seeped into him. He has some lavishly gifted players at his disposal, but the Magpies have only had 3.3 shots on target per game, and in terms of Expected Goals For according to Infogol, they have the third-worst record in the division. They have scored multiple goals in less than half of their league games, and since the start of last season they've averaged pretty much a goal a game in the top division.

Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is still sidelined, winger Allan Saint-Maximin and defender Jamaal Lascelles are also out with COVID-19, but striker Callum Wilson should return after missing the 2-0 defeat at Manchester City.

Angry Liverpool keen to bounce back

The champions of England were played like suckers by Sam Allardyce's West Brom at Anfield on Sunday, as the Baggies grimly stayed in the game before striking late to draw 1-1. Social media was rife with mirth about Jordan Henderson producing more first-half passes than the whole WBA side, but in the end a lack or urgency and potency cost the Reds a couple of points. Manager Jürgen Klopp admitted his side had fallen short of the required and expected standards in the second half.

Liverpool are wounded, and therefore dangerous. They rarely go two Premier League games without a win (it has only happened twice in 2020), and their response to the bizarre 7-2 reverse at Aston Villa in early October was to go on a run of six wins and five draws in the top flight, a sequence that propelled them to top spot.

Our friends at Opta tell us that Liverpool are looking to win three straight league games at Newcastle for the first time in their history, and the Reds have won their last five top-flight meetings with the Magpies. In their last away game, Liverpool pulverised a shell-shocked Crystal Palace 7-0.

Liverpool's already thinned defensive resources have been further stretched by an injury to Joel Matip, and Rhys Williams could partner the excellent Fabinho at centre-back. Thiago is closing in on a return to action, but it remains to be seen whether he'll be fit in time.

Think outside the box and push Reds above evens

I think a motivated Liverpool will have too much for Newcastle, but backing the visitors at 1.3 in the Match Odds market holds little appeal. So how do we find a more attractive price?

The answer lies in the Sportsbook's Same Game Multi (see offer below). We can back Liverpool to win, Under 4.5 Goals and Liverpool to have five or more shots on target at 2.04. Only two of Liverpool's last 26 away games in the league have featured five goals or more, but they have had 97 shots on target in the PL this term at an average of 6.47 per game.

Newcastle have conceded 22 goals in their last 11 PL home games, so it's not unreasonable to assume Liverpool will make a fair few chances.

Mane to strike again?

Sadio Mane scored against Crystal Palace and West Brom, and Opta stats show the Senegal international has scored six goals in his last eight away games at this level. He is priced at 5/6 to score, while Mo Salah - who has scored on his last four starts against Newcastle - is 8/11 to find the net.

For the hosts, Callum Wilson is the top scorer with eight PL strikes, and he is priced at 11/5.

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