After the Christmas festivities we are down to the final games of 2011 as Kenny Daglish looks to put Liverpool’s poor home form behind him as the Reds entertain Newcastle at Anfield with Bet365 and Paddy Power both reporting money for Andy Carroll.
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Its been a disappointing stretch of results for Liverpool as two draws against Blackburn and Wigan has really put their Premiership title charge on hold, as the Reds once again failed to dispose of weaker opposition.
Daglish’s men currently now lie in sixth, and despite only one defeat in their last thirteen the best they can now hope for is Champions League qualification. Their defensive worries have now been stabilised and it seems the back four of Johnson, Agger, Skrtel and Enrique is here to stay.
Ex Newcastle man Andy Carroll should be fit to play against his old club while Daglish may opt to play Dirk Kuyt, the Dutchman finding the net in each of his last three games against the Toon as a replacement for Luis Suarez, who serves a one match ban after admitting an FA improper conduct charge.
For Newcastle, their talismatic striker Demba Ba should be fit to start after suffering a knee injury at Bolton, while Dan Gosling could return to the side after a three match ban.
Alan Pardew will be looking to continue their mini revival after their 2-1 win away at Bolton last week brought an end to their run of six games without a win, which has seen the Toon fall to seventh in the Premiership, a place below their opponents tonight.
Newcastle fans must have been expecting the worst after their superb start to the season saw a dramatic slump and a freefall down the table. However three points at the Reebok and a result against Liverpool will be seen as a decent Christmas return, as the Toon prepare to face Manchester United in their first Premiership outing of 2012 at St James’s Park on 4th Jan.
For Liverpool, nothing short of a win will do as Daglish looks to turn those disappointing draws into three points, and with Suarez now facing an eight match ban, much will depend on Craig Bellamy, Dirk Kuyt and ex Newcastle star Andy Carroll to start finding the net and score at regular intervals.
It should be a cracking atmosphere at Anfield, with the game kicking off at 19:45 GMT.