So, Newcastle United head to Merseyside this boxing day, to Anfield the home of Liverpool A place Newcastle do NOT travel well to. Not picking up a win since 1994! Since then we have succumb to 17 losses and just the 4 draws! That IS an appauling record BUT… If there is one man who can take us to his old home ground and have us snatch something… It is Rafa Bentiez! Having said that we go up against the swash buckling lead leaders this term, who haven’t shown a lot of weakness for our limited attack to exploit so I have a sinking feeling that this boxing day hangover could linger on to us leaving with 0 points. But less of that talk! Let’s get behind the lads regardless and we CAN get something I believe if we can keep our composure and not concede early. That will be key. Likely to line up in our familiar 3 or 5 at the back however you see it, but with no KISI in the hole we will likely see Jonjo Shelvey return and return to Liverpool (Please keep your cool Jonjo…please.) Liverpool line up in a very fluid and dynamic attacking 4-3-3. With Fabinho sitting in the anchor ahead of the back 4. With Milner box to box and Keita bombing forward.
Our last victory Vs. Liverpool came at home in 2015, Skrtel put through his own net for our first goal and then the man who would later secure a move to Anfield, Gini Wijnaldum slotted in nicely to nick all 3 points. We all remember the 6-0 thrashing’s at home and the back to back 4-3’s away which will last forever in the mind’s of us unlucky toon fan’s. Maybe its OUR turn to smash n grab a 4-3!? COLLYMORE CLOSING INNN… Go away bad thoughts! Thoughts instantly fetch back to players who crossed the line for both sides, the likes of wor Gini, Peter Beardsley, Jose Enrique (We’re in the top fiiiive…sorry.) Ian Rush, John Barnes and of course the time we somehow convinced them to sign Andy Carroll to splash a tidy £35million on him… how is still one of life’s many questions which crosses my mind once or twice a year. Now I was a fan of big Andy and would of loved to see him fulfill his promise in that famous number 9 shirt. But since he has only managed to complete 90mins VERY few times and has not netted more than 12 goals in the big league since. Canny investment Liverpool… HA!
This is set to be a very emotional occasion for the boss, Having delivered a UEFA Champions league, FA Cup, UEFA super cup and a charity shield to Merseyside. However the consummate professional Rafa remained focused and declared in his pre-match conference “It’s a tricky question because I am a professional who wants my team wo win every game. But at the same time, If my team is not involved and it is not affecting you, then yes I like to see Liverpool win, But let me be VERY clear, as long as I am not involved!”
So we head into the game with the League leaders having a perfect record so far, unbeaten with 15 wins and 3 draws. Scoring 39 goals in the process. Ourselves however sitting in 15th with 4 wins 5 draws and 9 defeats. Mohamed Salah is the OBVIOUS danger man for Liverpool, scoring 11 goals with 5 assists this term but he has wracked up 45 goals in 67 games which is frightening and set up 16 goals in his time in Liverpool. They also have the perfect false 9 in Roberto Firmino who will link up play for his pacey wingers running off him, Salah and Mane respectively. With the likes of Naby Keita and Fabinho in midfield driving forward and the Virgil Van Dijk the man mountain at the back it is very hard to see our lads living with this sort of quality but as the Premier League has shown ANYTHING can happen! Can WE get our quality players on the ball and quick in counters? Can we upset the odds and the Anfield kop by sneaking 3 points away? Or even a brilliant point? Fingers crossed as this is a brilliant side Liverpool have now and will be confident of knocking us over like a set of bowling pins. Can we step up? Can we remain solid and resolute? I hope so.
We go to Anfield and then see us go to Watford a side who are looking solid and will likely look to get some revenge going into the New Year. Will it be a good end to 2018 for us?