Former Giants Do Battle

Picture: Getty Images/
Picture: Getty Images/
It wasn’t that long ago that Newcastle  and Liverpool  were battling it out at the top of the English Premier League, but things are very different for the clubs now. Liverpool is trying to re-establish itself as one of the top teams in the League following four consecutive seasons outside the top four, while Newcastle is aiming for a top half finish for just the second time since 2006.

Newcastle had lost two matches in a row prior to a 2-1  victory over Cardiff on October 5 but could be without skipper Fabricio Coloccini for this match after the defender was forced to miss Argentina’s clash with Uruguay during the week due to an undisclosed muscle injury. With Steven Taylor unlikely to return from a hamstring injury that has kept him sidelined for the past month, boss Alan Pardew may be forced to field an inexperienced pair at the back. Despite being in 11th spot on the ladder, the Magpies have the third worst defensive record in the competition, having conceded 12 goals in seven matches. At the other end of the pitch, Loic Remy has bagged five goals already this season and is likely to lead the line with either Hatem Ben Arfa  or Papiss Cisse .

The Reds have made a brilliant start to the new campaign and currently occupy joint top spot on the table with five wins and a draw from their opening seven league fixtures. Following successive 3-1  victories over Sunderland and Crystal Palace, manager Brendan Rogers is unlikely to tinker with his squad too much for this match but he will be buoyed by the availability of Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva, who are returning from injury and suspension respectively. Leiva is likely to slot straight back into the starting side, but Allen may have to bide his time with Jordan Henderson excelling in his absence. Daniel Sturridge  is the leading scorer in the Premier League with six goals from seven matches and is likely to be partnered in attack by Luis Suarez , who converted a controversial penalty in Uruguay’s victory over Argentina during the international break.

Liverpool has had the better of recent Premier League matches between these sides, winning 10 of their past 14 league clashes and collecting a draw from another. When the clubs did battle at St James Park in April, Liverpool scored a 6-0 victory, the biggest defeat Newcastle had ever suffered at their home ground.

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