5 Dec 2015

Liverpool-XI vs. Newcastle: £66m-trio out? Southampton hero starts? Massive boost as Klopp confirms Sturridge fitness [PREDICTION LEAGUE]

After Liverpool's 6-1 annihilation of Southampton, confidence is high ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Newcastle, and results go the right way, another victory will leave the Reds on the cusp of breaking into the Champions League places.

In his pre-match press conference today, Jurgen Klopp:

* Confirmed that Daniel Sturridge 'is available for the weekend'.

* Hinted that Jordan Henderson will be on the bench again. He told reporters: "Hendo made a big step in the last few weeks. There were some doubts about the heel, and it’s important we give him time".

* Floated the possibility that he may name an unchanged team for the game: "It’s possible that we play with the same team. Wednesday to Sunday is enough time for recovery, so we could do the same again".

As is usually the case when Liverpool have good results, humility is replaced by overconfidence/arrogance, exemplified by the club's players massaging each others' egos in the media, and ex-Reds predicting that club will 'win the league'.

Well, Newcastle is precisely the kind of game that could send the club crashing back down to earth, and if complacency sets in, then that's exactly what will happen.

I personally prefer to err on the side of caution. Smug triumphalism irritates me, especially when it's based on just a few good results over a short period of time. I may be in the minority, but I'll wait until Liverpool actually *achieve* something before drinking the Koolaid. As for keeping the same team:

* Joe Allen had an impressive game at Southampton, and provided a great assist, so he deserves to keep his place.

* Lallana did absolutely nothing of any creative worth, so I don't see how he deserves to start. It's 14 hours since he scored a league goal, and Firmino is a more effective player.

* Clyne had a rest on Wednesday, and although Randall did okay, he should come back into the team.

* How can you drop a player who scored a hat-trick? Origi did well at Southampton, and it makes sense to build on his current goalscoring momentum. My preferred line-up:

---------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Skrtel --- Lovren ------ Moreno
------- Hendo -- Lucas --- Allen
----------- Origi -- Firmino
--------------- Sturridge

Or, if Sturridge is on the bench/injured in the warm-up:

---------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Skrtel --- Lovren ------ Moreno
------ Milner -- Lucas --- Allen
----------- Origi -- Hendo
--------------- Firmino


You have until Sunday 4PM (GMT) to make your predictions.

* 20 Points: First goalscorer (Can be for either team).

* 20 Points: First Liverpool player to head the ball during the game.

* 30 Points: LFC's collective number of tackles.

* 50 Point Triple-Whammy: Perfect score + first goalscorer + first header (Possible points total: 120)

* Ned Ryerson Mega-Bonus: 100 points for Perfect score + first goalscorer + first header + number of tackles (Possible points total: 200)

My prediction: 3-1 Liverpool. Tackles: 23. Goalscorer: Firmino. Header: Skrtel

Author: Jaimie K


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