Newcastle United travel to Anfield on Saturday afternoon riding a wave of their best form all season, to play guest to Liverpool after a rough week for the reigning Premier League champions.
The Reds’ involvement in the proposed European Super League lasted less than 48 hours, before a public apology from owner John Henry and manager Jurgen Klopp pleading for supporters to show their forgiveness.
Steve Bruce will hope he can add to the misery with his side’s first top-flight win at Anfield since April 1994, as the Toon look to claim a third straight league victory for the first time this term and continue a season-high run of results after wins over Burnley and West Ham.
Newcastle are yet to go unbeaten in four successive Premier League fixtures this season but can do so on Saturday. So, with that in mind, here’s a potential line-up that Bruce may field with two changes from the XI that beat the Irons…
Newcastle travel to Liverpool with a near fully fit squad available for Bruce to select from, with the Toon boss confirming on Friday that Allan Saint-Maximin will be on hand after overcoming a knock taken to his ankle in last week’s 3-2 win over West Ham.
The Frenchman was forced to limp off following a kick to his ankle, but should open the action at Anfield beside Callum Wilson with the Magpies’ 10-goal top-scorer also fit to feature for potentially his first start since sustaining a hamstring injury on February 6.
What will the result be in Liverpool vs Newcastle?
Bruce will be without Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles and Ryan Fraser on Merseyside as the trio continue their recoveries from respective knee, foot and groin injuries, while Karl Darlow will be replaced on the bench by Mark Gillespie after a small operation on his knee.
Schar returned to training earlier this week but is unlikely to feature against Liverpool, leaving Bruce to name an unchanged back-line from the Irons affair with Matt Ritchie, Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez and Jacob Murphy protecting goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.
Sean Longstaff has started each of Newcastle’s last three games as they held Tottenham to a draw before wins over Burnley and West Ham, but is likely to fall to the bench in place of last Saturday’s match-winner Joe Willock.
The £20,000-per-week Arsenal loanee made the telling contribution within seconds of his introduction in place of Longstaff, who had played just 12 accurate passes before his exit in the 80th minute – fewer than Magpies shot-stopper Dubravka (15), per WhoScored.
Bruce opting to start Wilson in attack with Saint-Maximin would be expected to come at the expense of Joelinton, despite the Brazilian enjoying his best run of form in front of the net since joining Newcastle in a club-record £40m deal with TSG Hoffenheim in 2019.
The forward struck his second goal in three games against West Ham after finding the back of Tottenham’s net, after which Ian Wright lauded Joelinton for his “nuisance value” having been involved “in everything”, to now boast five goals in 64 career Premier League games.