Liverpool vs Newcastle: Magpies may be tough nut to crack

Liverpool have stopped the run of home defeats but they're still struggling to put teams away at Anfield and Steve Bruce's improving visitors could just be able to nick a point.

When: Saturday, April 24, 12:30 BST

How to watch: BT Sport 1

Follow this game via our live score centre

Best bets

Draw at 11/2 (bet365)

Trent Alexander-Arnold to score anytime at 7/1 (Betfred)

Callum Wilson to score anytime at 15/4 (Betway)

Not so long ago, Newcastle were looking anxiously over their shoulders, seemingly stuck in quicksand and fearful that third-bottom Fulham would overtake them and condemn the Magpies to relegation.

Even West Brom looked an outside threat after the Baggies walloped Chelsea 5-2.

But Fulham have stalled while Newcastle have rallied: seven points out of the last nine and Steve Bruce's men are up to the giddy heights of 15th.

In no time, they're eight points clear of Fulham and the Cottagers have played a game more.

Newcastle, who were odds-on for the drop at one point, started their revival with a late draw at Spurs before scoring back-to-back wins over Burnley (2-1 at Turf Moor) and West Ham (3-2 at St. James' Park).

In fact, there's an argument they started to turn the corner much earlier. Add in draws against Wolves (h), West Brom (a) and Aston Villa (h) and the men in black and white have lost just one of their last seven.

Last Three Meetings

Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool (December 30, 2020)

Perhaps the most surprising thing in hindsight about this game is how the table looked after it. Despite the draw, Liverpool ended the match three points clear at the top. Manchester City were down in eighth, seven points back, although did have two games in hand. This was a sign that the Reds weren't of the same 2019/20 vintage as they failed to take several good opportunities to score. That said the shot count was only 11-8 in Liverpool's favour so it wasn't exactly too one-sided. One stat to emerge from this one: it was the first 0-0 draw between the pair since 1974.

Newcastle 1-3 Liverpool (July 26, 2020)

Liverpool were in party mood having already ended their 30-year wait for the title although they looked as if they'd had one too many the night before after conceding after just 25 seconds to a Dwight Gayle goal. But, in a changed side, Virgil van Dijk levelled on 38 before Divock Origi ended a 23-game gun without scoring to put the Reds in front just before the hour mark. Sadio Mane came up with a clincher on 89 as Liverpool racked up 99 points, the second-highest total in Premier League history. The defeat meant the Magpies finished in 14th with 44.

Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle (September 14, 2019)

Newcastle also took an early lead in this one as Jetro Willems thumped in a seventh-minute opener. But Liverpool were irresistible and stormed to a 3-1 win that made it a maximum 15 points from their first five games. Add in the nine straight wins from the back end of their near-miss title bid in 2018/19 and this was a 14th straight Premier League victory. Sadio Mane curled Liverpool level on 28 before tapping in a second 12 minutes later. Then came the highlight: Roberto Firmino's drag back and backheel played in Mo Salah who netted from a narrow angle on 72.

Head-to-head - last 10

Liverpool wins: 6

Draws: 3

Newcastle wins: 1

Liverpool scored: 20

Newcastle scored: 9

Liverpool still eye Champions League after momentous week

This has been some week, even by Liverpool's standards.

The vilified European Super League was gone as soon as it arrived but during those astonishing 48 hours the Reds came sharply into focus by playing a match against Leeds.

With Jurgen Klopp thrown under a bus by his owners and the players distracted by unwanted events off the pitch that they hadn't even been made aware of, Liverpool appeared to have shaken it off initially.

They took a 1-0 first-half advantage but Leeds hit back after the break to grab a deserved equaliser.

Whether Liverpool having their heads messed with played any part in the outcome is hard to fathom but it was a difficult night all round.

With Spurs winning on Wednesday night, the champions are down to seventh with just six games to go.

The good news is that, with the league so cramped, they're just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and a Champions League spot is still up for grabs.

This, and perhaps four of the other five, are must-win games. After Newcastle, Liverpool's run-in is Manchester United (a), Southampton (h), West Brom (a), Burnley (a) and Crystal Palace (h).

On paper, it looks favourable; the reality is that the Reds have struggled against lower-half teams all season.

And after being one of the six rebels who tried to break away, there are plenty in the football world who would love to see West Ham and Leicester edge out Liverpool and Chelsea for top-four places.

Liverpool's last five results

Wolves 0-1 Liverpool (Jota)

Arsenal 0-3 Liverpool (Jota 2, Salah)

Liverpool 2-1 Aston Villa (Salah, Alexander-Arnold)

Liverpool 0-0 Real Madrid

Leeds 1-1 Liverpool (Mane)

Do we trust Liverpool at Anfield yet?

If this was Team X playing at Ground X, it would be easy to dismiss them as one of the worst home teams in all four divisions.

It's hard to draw any other conclusions from a record that shows six defeats and just a single win in their last seven league games on Merseyside.

Real Madrid also kept Liverpool at arm's length in a 0-0 Champions League draw while even the Reds' one home win in that run - a 2-1 success over Aston Villa - was due only to a last-gasp strike from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Steve Bruce says Newcastle will not take gung-ho route to Premier League safety
Steve Bruce says Newcastle will not take gung-ho route to Premier League safety

Are Newcastle playing well enough to become the latest team to frustrate them? The answer would appear to be yes.

Taking Liverpool at just 1/4 looks a foolish move so I'll look to the draw at an inflated 11/2 with bet365.

There's a chance that Newcastle could let their guard down a bit with safety looking more and more likely but, equally, they may play with a little more freedom having put serious ground between themselves and Fulham.

Steve Bruce knows how to organise a side and this could be yet another frustrating afternoon for Klopp and co.

Goalscorer bets

Mo Salah is predictably short for an anytime goal at 8/15 although he's scored in all three home games he's played for Liverpool against Newcastle.

Sadio Mane has four in six against the Magpies so could be a better option. He ended a goal drought with a well-taken finish against Leeds but the Senegalese striker hasn't found the net at Anfield in 2021 so I'll pass him by at 7/5.

Instead I'll take a punt on Trent Alexander-Arnold at 7/1.

It could be a backs-to-the-wall job for the visitors so it may take a free-kick or a thump from distance and that brings in TAA.

As well as the winner in Liverpool's last home league game he scored in two of the Reds' final four Anfield matches of the previous season.

For Newcastle, Callum Wilson scored for Bournemouth on his last trip to Anfield and the fit-again striker is worth a punt at 15/4 to score anytime.

Before being injured he'd hit double figures with his Premier League goal count and that's impressive in a side not exactly creating a bundle of chances for him.

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