Newcastle have made 17 trips to Anfield in the Premier League era, and have walked away with even a single point only twice. They have not taken the full three points away from Liverpool's home ground since 1994. Alan Pardew's men will be looking to buck that trend off the back of a lucky 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion a week ago. While the Londoner said after the WBA match that his charges were "rounding back into form", it may be much more likely that we've had a little rub of the luck that marked our early season unbeaten run a year ago.
The conventional book on Liverpool includes chapters on having worse depth than Newcastle at the striker position and a desperate missing of Lucas Leiva - which on the very top of the surface would seem to benefit the Toon... but it never works out that easily, does it?
Injuries, Suspensions and Other Player News
- Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has missed the club's last four matches with a hamstring injury and is doubtful for the match; Australian Brad Jones has been the man between the sticks in his absence. This, of course, means that former Toon man Jose Enrique is one step closer to the GK position than where he started last season during the fixture at St. James' Park.
- Glen Johnson could miss out as well with a hamstring complaint of his own. The potential absence of Johnson and his involvement in the attack Newcastle's defensive left may be of great benefit as it will free up Davide Santon on the left just a little to work his magic.
- Liverpool will not be the only club missing their holding midfielder as Cheik Tiote will be out for the second match of his three match suspension for earning a straight red in the derby.
Demba Ba, depending on who you read, is definitely out, definitely in or faces a late fitness test. If he's out, cue the conspiracy theory that he's not playing because he's joining Liverpool in January (not that this makes any sense, but it will be out there). If he's in, cue the conspiracy theory that Newcastle are shopping him to Brendan Rodgers for a January transfer.
In one of those Saturdays where all of the results seemed to smile on Tyneside, it is set up for Newcastle to take a leap into sixth position if they can take all three points today. Without factoring in the intangible things such as "Newcastle always lose at Anfield" and other such things that don't make any logical sense but just are, this match up looks decent for Newcastle and feels like one that the lads should be in with a shout to take a result... but this is Newcastle, and it is Anfield, etc. etc. Color me fortunate if we take a point away.