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    Newcastle United vs Liverpool Match Preview


    Liverpool will look to build upon their excellent win over Leicester last weekend when they return to Premier League action this Sunday to face promoted Newcastle at St James' Park.

    Klopp will be delighted to finally see the back of September, a month which yielded only one win from six matches in all competitions, as his side try to win back-to-back away matches for the first time this season.

    Opponents Newcastle have improved since a shaky start to the season under Rafa Benitez, with The Magpies' boss facing his former club for only the third time since his departure in 2010.

    Newcastle United

    Newcastle's defeat against fellow Premier League newcomers Brighton & Hove Albion a week ago broke a run of three consecutive wins for The Magpies, which had elevated the club from 17th to fourth in the table.

    After successive defeats to Tottenham and Huddersfield, followed by a Carabao Cup loss at home to Championship side Nottingham Forest, it appeared that Benitez's team were struggling to readjust to life in the Premier League.

    A remarkable turnaround in fortunes and performances, however, occurred in the next three matches as the club recorded victories over West Ham, Swansea and Stoke to draw level in the table with third-place Chelsea on nine points.

    That was followed by a 1-0 defeat at Brighton last weekend, in a hard-fought game, when Tomer Hemed scored the winner shortly after the interval, with Mikel Merino, Joselu (twice) and Jonjo Shelvey all coming close for the visitors.

    By today's standards, Newcastle failed to make any big-money acquisitions in the summer transfer window but the addition of five new players has improved last season's squad which pipped The Seagulls to the Championship title on the final day of the campaign.

    The Magpies' biggest outlay was the £12 million spent on Norwich City winger Jacob Murphy, while the club also spent £6.2 million on making midfielder Christian Atsu's move from Chelsea permanent after he had spent last season on loan.

    Benitez also turned to La Liga in the summer to pay a combined £13.2 million on defenders Florian Lejeune from Eibar and Javier Manquillo from Atletico Madrid, with Spanish striker Joselu also joining in a £5 million deal from Stoke.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool may have struggled recently to hit the heady heights which they managed to reach in the opening few weeks of the season but last weekend's 3-2 win over Leicester was an indication that the club are close to returning to their free-flowing best.

    The reintegration of Philippe Coutinho into the Liverpool first-team seems to have come at exactly the right time, with the Brazilian providing an attacking masterclass against The Foxes which included the conversion of a superlative free-kick from over 25 yards.

    Coutinho scored once again in the 1-1 draw against Spartak Moscow in midweek but despite Liverpool's domination, it proved a frustrating night as Klopp's side were held to a second successive draw in the group stages of the Champions League.

    The draw marked the fifth time that Liverpool have failed to win in their last six matches, a sequence which saw the club succumb to Manchester City and Leicester and only manage to secure draws against Sevilla and Burnley.

    Sunday's trip to Newcastle should see Sadio Mane and Coutinho start for Liverpool in the league for the first time this season, with the Senegal international's three-match suspension for catching Manchester City's Ederson with a high boot having now elapsed.

    Jurgen Klopp could pick a similar side to the one which started in Russia, with Philippe Coutinho playing in a central position behind 'false 9' Roberto Firmino and both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah providing balance and width on the flanks.

    A win on Sunday could elevate Liverpool up to fourth in the table ahead of the international break, although defeat would mean that both Manchester clubs would open-up a eight-point gap over The Reds after the two in-form sides recorded wins on Saturday.

    Newcastle United Team News

    Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez could name the same team to the one which lost 1-0 to Brighton a week ago despite having striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and defender Florian Lejeune available once again.

    Mitrovic will return to the Magpies squad after serving a three-match ban for an incident in the 3-0 win over West Ham which was missed by the officials but led to an FA charge of violent conduct.

    Lejeune, who sustained an ankle victory in Newcastle's defeat to Tottenham on the opening weekend of the season, has finally recovered and could make his comeback on Sunday.

    Paul Dummett (hamstring) misses out having also sustained an injury in the loss against Spurs which has kept him out for the last seven weeks, while Massadio Haidara (knee) remains on the sidelines and is yet to feature so far this season.

    Liverpool Team News

    Sadio Mane will return to the Liverpool starting XI having served the final game of his three-match domestic ban in last weekend's 3-2 victory over Leicester City.

    Manager Jurgen Klopp could freshen-up his team once again after the club played in the Champions League in midweek, with Georginio Wijnaldum returning to the starting line-up to face the club he left to join The Reds in 2016.

    Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez will contest the right-back spot in the continued absence of Nathaniel Clyne (back), while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daniel Sturridge and James Milner will also be vying for rare starts.

    The only other players currently unavailable to Klopp are England midfielder Adam Lallana (thigh), who is still yet to feature for The Reds this season, and reserve goalkeeper Adam Bogdan due to a long-term knee injury.

    Head-to-head

    The match-up conjures up iconic memories in the history of English football, such as the 1974 FA Cup Final, which Liverpool won 3-0, and the two consecutive league meetings at St James' Park in the 1990s when The Reds triumphed 4-3 in epic encounters.

    The Magpies defeated Liverpool 2-0 in December 2015, the last time both sides met in Newcastle, with defender Martin Skrtel scoring an own goal before Georginio Wijnaldum sealed the win against his future side in stoppage-time.

    The clubs have been evenly-matched in recent meetings, with both sides winning three, drawing three and losing three games in a sequence of nine matches that stretches back to April 2012.

    Liverpool lead the head-to-head in terms of Premier League meetings, having won 24 and drawn nine from 44 games played, while they also lead the way in overall encounters with 82 wins and 41 draws from 173 matches.

    Score Prediction

    Newcastle United 1-1 Liverpool
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    Item Reviewed: Newcastle United vs Liverpool Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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