Liverpool suffered a huge blow in their bid to win the Premier League title with a 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace. In their final game of the season they'll need to beat Newcastle to make sure the title race goes right to the wire. The Magpies had been on a terrible run of defeats until they won 3-0 against Cardiff.
Liverpool have no fresh injury concerns so should go with a full-strength side, welcoming back the suspended Jordan Henderson into the midfield. At the back there will likely be a slight reshuffling after such a poor defensive display versus Palace.
Having won for the first time in weeks Newcastle will go with a similar line-up that claimed a 3-0 victory over now relegated Cardiff. Shola Ameobi will lead the attack with Loic Remy in behind in a rough 4-4-1-1 formation.
Can Liverpool tighten up at the back?
With the three goals Liverpool leaked on Monday, the Reds have now conceded 49, which is 23 more than Chelsea – the best defence in the Premier League.
Eight teams in the division have a better defensive record than Brendan Rodgers’ side. Liverpool are no longer in the box seat as a result of failing to hold their nerve versus Palace and will need to be more assured at the back against a Newcastle team who despite being in bad form, do have goals in them when they are clicking.
Liverpool's defensive organization was suspect and caused them problems as they chased the fourth goal at Selhurst Park, being caught on the break for the goal that made it 3-1. For the second Palace goal Martin Skrtel stepped out of the back four prematurely which allowed Palace forward Dwight Gayle space to move into and to score unmarked. It was a shambles.
Even though the title is in Manchester City's hands Liverpool must be more assured at the back versus Newcastle, who do possess a goal threat in Remy. The Frenchman has scored 14 goals in 26 appearances this season and converted 21.5% of his chances.
Remy is a handful, scoring a goal and assisting another versus Cardiff. He played off of Ameobi, dropping off into deeper positions, as well as getting in behind and getting into the opposition box:
Liverpool will have to get the balance right between attack and defence or risk being exposed at the back. This will especially be the case if they make such poor errors like those made versus Palace, as Remy will be waiting to pounce.
Will a goal glut be enough for the home side?
Liverpool have worked on the ethos of outscoring their opponents this season. They have netted 99 goals thus far and will likely continue their rampant attacking performances against a Newcastle side who themselves have been leaking goals.
They have conceded 57 this season and despite being ninth have a -15 goal difference because of their poor defensive record.
Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have been in brilliant form scoring 52 Premier League goals between them and it's difficult to see a weak Newcastle defence keeping out such a rampant attacking side.
Liverpool have placed a huge emphasis on attack in their fluid 4-1-2-1-2 formation, with Raheem Sterling running between the opposition midfield and defence. That being said, even if they continue their rampant attack it may not be enough. Liverpool lost the momentum in the title race with their slip up midweek and now need Man City to lose at the weekend.
If City were somehow to draw it would go down to goal difference, but their poor defensive displays have ensured that the Reds now have too much ground to make up in that department.
Even after the 3-3 collapse at Palace, Liverpool still possess a lot of attacking quality and will want to finish their remarkable season with a home win over Alan Pardew's side.
The game will be bitter-sweet for Liverpool fans who would have been hoping that it'd see their side lift the Premier League title, which they now most probably won't. However, the last game of the season at Anfield should still bring cause for celebration given that the home side will likely finish second, far above where many expected them to.
For Newcastle this could be Pardew's last game in charge after a terrible run of results in recent weeks, with another defeat expected here.
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