Saturday, May 02, 2009

Mtach Preview: Liverpool vs Newcastle

Newcastle have given the Reds some classic ties over the years with some high scoring, fast tempo and incredibly exciting encounters. I’m not expecting the same this time round to be honest as Newcastle are no where near the side they once were. They’ve managed just one goal in their last four games and I wouldn’t go betting on them to add to that tally when they visit Anfield.

When Alan Shearer arrived at Newcastle the betting odds were slashed on the Toon staying up. Four games and just two points later and they’re hot favourites to face the drop again. Newcastle couldn’t even beat Portsmouth at home on Monday night and they were perhaps lucky to get away with a point. A trip to Anfield is definitely not what they need right now and I can only see this tie going Liverpool’s way.

Steven Gerrard should be back from injury in time for the game on Sunday and his presence should give Rafa’s men a massive lift, though to be fair they’ve been doing pretty well without him anyway. Newcastle’s midfield seems to lack any invention at all, probably why Michael Owen hasn’t been finding the net lately, and Gerrard should run the show on Sunday.

There is the risk of Owen’s return to consider, that could be the ace in the hole for Shearer and Newcastle. The former Kop favourite hasn’t been in the best form of late and is struggling to find the net but he is still a top-striker and if he gets half a chance he is more than capable of taking it.

Newcastle’s confidence has been low lately, as you would expect, and that has been plain too see for anyone who has been watching their games. If Liverpool go at them from the start and get the crowd behind them it could be a real rout and I just can’t see Newcastle offering anything to be honest. The only down side is Manchester United play Middlesbrough the day before and I can’t see them dropping points in that game either, but at least Liverpool should keep up the pressure at the top of the table.

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