Newcaste Utd v Liverpool Sun 13:30
Should Newcastle come away from this weekend’s fixture with all three points intact, the North East outfit will just about have assured themselves of their first top six finish since the 2003-04 season, as Bet365 offer long odds on Alan Pardew’s side to take all three points.
However, standing in the way of that feat is Liverpool, who are looking to close the eight point gap between them and the Magpies as they look to bounce back from some of the poorest form Reds fans will have seen in a while.
Last week’s loss at home to Wigan Athletic was the icing on the cake as far as many supporters will have been concerned and was the second straight defeat to a side threatened with relegation.
Kenny Dalglish’s side currently sit in seventh place but run the serious risk of a mid-table finish or lower if they fail to string a considerable amount of results together.
Liverpool have the second worst form in the English top flight, having won just one of their last six Premier League outings and losing the other five.
The Merseysiders haven’t finished outside the top eight of England’s first tier since they entered it in 1962, back when it was the First Division.
Despite this campaign’s Carling Cup win and the possibility of an FA Cup final, fans would understandably be distraught should they finish ninth or lower at the end of this season, especially when considering the money that has been spent in recent years.
Newcastle have lost just twice in their last six outings but are currently enjoying a two-match winning streak and spirits are bound to be high after last weekend’s confident victory over the Baggies.
Alan Pardew’s team were hit with further injury woes this week however, after it was announced that Fabricio Collocini had fallen victim to a hamstring tear and would be sidelined for about a month.
With Steven Taylor already out for the season, that leaves Mike Williamson and James Perch to deputise at the back, giving Liverpool some comfort heading into the match.
Dalglish also has a number a face looking at a return and the Scot may be able to welcome back a raft of injuries including Daniel Agger, Craig Bellamy, Glen Johnson, Martin Kelly and Jack Robinson who are all likely to face late fitness tests.