Liverpool vs Newcastle United is a fixture that has served up some of the most entertaining, chaotic passages of play in Premier League history, and Saturday’s clash between the sides at St James’s Park added further to that lineage.
All hell threatened to break loose in the opening 22 minutes, with two goals and a bizarre red card headlining a frantic start.
The good news for Liverpool is that all three of those key moments went in their favour. Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo both got onto the scoresheet within the opening 17 minutes, before Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope was sent off after diving on a through ball about ten yards outside of his penalty area. Thankfully, given controversies of late, VAR was not needed for that one.
The game was effectively over after about a quarter of time gone, then, with the hosts down to ten men and Liverpool two goals to the good. But this wasn’t a vintage Reds display, as Newcastle spurned three high probability chances – Miguel Almiron, as early as the fourth minute, Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson might all have done better. They also hit the woodwork via Allan Saint-Maximin and Dan Burn.
Mind you, the Reds have further chances of their own through Gakpo and the returning Diogo Jota, so Jurgen Klopp has every right to feel pleased about another three points and clean sheet in the bag. A 90-minute outing for Virgil van Dijk proved to be the icing on the cake.
Whisper it, but Liverpool are now just six points off fourth place with a game in hand.
There’s a change of pace on Tuesday evening as the Reds welcome Real Madrid to Anfield for the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash.
Liverpool Team News
Assuming there’s no reaction from their return to action, both Van Dijk and Jota will be in Klopp’s thoughts for the visit of the Galacticos.
The former will surely start at centre back, potentially alongside Joel Matip, while the latter may also get a starting berth with Nunez reportedly struggling with a shoulder issue picked up in Saturday’s win.
Bobby Firmino is another option – he played the last 30 minutes or so against Newcastle, although Klopp seems to prefer Gakpo through the middle than from the left, so perhaps Jota is the more likely deputy.
The midfield trio of Stefan Bajcetic, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho seems to have provided Liverpool with a better balance in midfield and more defensive stability, and with the former pair subbed off after an hour against the Magpies that’s a likely clue they were being kept fresh for Tuesday’s assignment.
Real Madrid Form
Spanish champions Real Madrid have got an almighty job on their hands defending their crown, with Barcelona now eight points clear at the summit of the La Liga table.
A period of inconsistency before and after the World Cup break has harmed the Galacticos’ chances, although they have won four of their last six domestic outings. Mind you, all three of their defeats this term have come on the road – losses away from home at the likes of Mallorca and Rayo Vallecano should give Liverpool fans hope.
In the Champions League, Real topped a group containing RB Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic, losing only once to the German side.
Liverpool vs Real Madrid Betting Tips
One of the defining factors of this game could be injuries – Van Dijk has returned from his in a colossal bit of good news for Liverpool, while for Madrid the likes of Toni Kroos, Aurelien Tchouameni and Ferland Mendy are sidelined.
Karim Benzema may feature on Tuesday, but Liverpool are perhaps in a better place as far as player selection and current form are concerned.
Real’s away day woes in La Liga are backed by something similar in Europe – they’ve already dropped points against Leipzig and Shakhtar on the road, although it should be said that odds of 27/20 on a Liverpool win are a fraction short….not that there’s value in a flutter on Real either.
The Reds continue to concede big chances even accounting for the return of Van Dijk, and in 28 La Liga and Champions League games thus far Real have only failed to score twice.
So you can take Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 Goals at 4/7 and 8/11 respectively, but we’ll be doubling them up together at even money.