Liverpool are on a roll under new boss Jurgen Klopp, and Kevin Hatchard expects them to sweep aside a Newcastle team floundering under Steve McClaren...
"Newcastle were atrocious in last weekend's 5-1 defeat at Crystal Palace, so the last thing they need is to face a Liverpool side chasing a fifth consecutive away win."
Newcastle United v Liverpool
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Sometimes Newcastle boss Steve McClaren has the air of a supply teacher who simply cannot control a gang of unruly students. His intentions are good and he has all the right qualifications, but the kids just aren't listening. It's a situation McClaren found himself in when he lost the dressing room at Wolfsburg, and his lack of authority was telling when he failed as England manager.
Newcastle have put in some awful displays this term, but last weekend's 5-1 thrashing at Crystal Palace was surely the nadir. Players showed a lack of discipline, bravery and common sense, as Palace ran riot. When the Magpies needed experienced players like Fabricio Coloccini and Moussa Sissoko to step up, they vanished.
McClaren says his players aren't coping at the moment, and with Liverpool and Spurs on the horizon, things could get worse before they get better. United's only Premier League wins this season have come against newly-promoted Bournemouth and Norwich, and they have lost eight of their 14 league games.
Some small crumbs of comfort can be gathered from home draws against Southampton and Chelsea, and a battling performance in a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal, after hare-brained striker Aleksandar Mitrovic got himself sent off. That said, home defeats to Watford and Leicester City are hardly encouraging.
If Jurgen Klopp is trying to downplay the impact he's making at Anfield, Wednesday's stunning 6-1 win at Southampton in the League Cup isn't the way to do it. Daniel Sturridge scored two fine goals in his first start since returning from injury, and Divock Origi (a player Klopp has long admired) bagged a hat-trick.
Klopp has quite rightly pointed out that Liverpool have a strong squad that doesn't need too many additions or alterations. Wednesday's demolition job was achieved without Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino or Philippe Coutinho. Jordan Henderson only came on as a late sub, while James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne were given deserved rests.
Liverpool have only lost one game since a jaded Brendan Rodgers was jettisoned, and they have won seven of their last eight games in all competitions. Liverpool are chasing a fifth straight away win, and they haven't lost a game on their travels since a 3-1 defeat at Manchester United in September.
Title talk is pretty fanciful at this stage, but it's interesting that Liverpool are trading at 1.8810/11 in the Top 4 Finish market, even though Spurs 2.47/5 are a couple of points better off in the standings.
Liverpool are 1.664/6 to win this, and given the two teams' form that looks about right. Newcastle are directionless, with the players showing little sign that they are prepared to fight for a manager that is sinking into the quicksand. Liverpool's players appear to be pulling in the same direction, and the fierce competition for places in midfield and attack is eliciting some breathtaking displays.
Three of Liverpool's last four away wins have been by a margin of two goals or greater, so you may wish to back them -1.0 on the Asian Handicap when there's liquidity in the market.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Three of the last five meetings between the teams have featured three goals or more, and Newcastle have conceded 21 goals in their last eight games.
Liverpool still seem to be playing with a bit more freedom on the road than at Anfield, and under Klopp the Reds have netted six goals at Southampton, four at Manchester City, and three at Chelsea.
Overs seems the way to go at 1.814/5, and on the Sportsbook you can back a Liverpool/Over 2.5 Goals double at 2.35/4.
Back Liverpool/Over 2.5 Goals at 2.35/4 (sportsbook)