Chris Sutton has offered his score prediction for Sunday’s clash between Newcastle and Liverpool at St. James’ Park, questioning whether the visitors’ midfield is ample enough for the task at hand.
The Reds have four points from their opening two games while Eddie Howe’s side opened their campaign with a 5-1 thrashing of Aston Villa before falling to a 1-0 lass against Manchester City at the Etihad last weekend.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were delighted to hear the news that Alexis Mac Allister’s harsh red card against Bournemouth had been overturned meaning the World Cup winner will be available for the trip to the north east – a game in which Sutton expects Liverpool to suffer their first defeat of the campaign.
“There is no great shame in losing to Manchester City,” Sutton told BBC Sport. “Liverpool beat them twice last season but Newcastle are at home and in front of their own support.
“Newcastle’s opening-day win against Aston Villa was a triumph and then it was a bit of a comedown for them. There was so much excitement that Newcastle could go there and take the game to Manchester City and they didn’t do that.
“Liverpool have so many good attacking players – Luis Diaz’s goal last week was brilliant, Diogo Jota is a handful, Mohamed Salah of course and Dominik Szoboszlai looks a talented player, but do they have that midfield protection?
“Newcastle 3-1 Liverpool.”
It will certainly be a huge test up against the Magpies away from home but we showed our class against them last season.
We picked up a huge three points against them thanks to goals from Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo and played against ten men for more than an hour after Nick Pope was dismissed for handling the ball outside of his area.
Howe and Co. have added some new faces to their squad this summer, though including Italy international Sandro Tonali from AC Milan and talented winger Harvey Barnes from Leicester.
Winning the battle in the middle of the park is imperative against Newcastle and we therefore believe Wataru Endo will be handed his first start for the club since his arrival from Stuttgart last week.
The Japan international will need to be right on it alongside Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai but with the talent we possess in attack there’s no reason why we can’t come away with all three points!