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Newcastle United v Liverpool – Time to see what Newcastle are really made of

Rafa Benitez will take on his former side for the second time since becoming Newcastle United manager. 

Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United - Premier League
Rafa Benitez is still adored by Liverpool fans, years after leaving the club.
Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

The Spaniard may look to ring the changes this week, after a relatively poor display at Brighton last weekend.

One man who is most likely to be inserted into the XI is Jonjo Shelvey, who appeared off the bench at the Amex and impressed. Isaac Hayden would presumably be the one to drop out of the side.

Florian Lejeune is back in contention after sitting out last week’s game entirely. The Frenchman hasn’t featured since the opening day, but could return against the Reds.

DeAndre Yedlin will play at right-back, whilst Chancel Mbemba looks set to be deployed at left-back once again.

Matt Ritchie is a shoe-in every week for Newcastle, but Christian Atsu’s place may come under threat, with £12 million man Jacob Murphy waiting in the wings.

Newcastle United v Stoke City - Premier League
Matt Ritchie has been Newcastle's most creative player so far this season.
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Aleksandar Mitrovic has served his suspension and is available for selection again. Joselu, however, remains the favourite to start, despite some poor missed chances in previous matches.

Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara are injury absentees, whilst Jack Colback has been left out of the squad photo. It is likely the midfielder has played his last game for the club.

Liverpool welcome back Sadio Mane to Premier League action, after the Senegal international completed his controversial three-game suspension. He is likely to slot in on the left side of a frightening three-pronged attack, with Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League
Sadio Mane returns for the Reds this weekend.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Adam Lallana is still out with a thigh problem sustained in pre-season, but has posted a positive update this week, which will please Liverpool fans.

Emre Can has been in fine form in 2017, but Georginio Wijnaldum may fancy his chances of playing his first game back at St James’ Park since his £25 million move to Merseyside.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge both look to have to settle for places on the Liverpool bench once more.

Nathaniel Clyne is another long-term absentee. The defender has not played all season because of a back problem. Trent Alexander-Arnold is therefore in line to play at right-back again.

On the opposite side, either Andrew Robertson or Alberto Moreno will start. Given the fact that Moreno started in midweek, Robertson is probably ready for his chance on Sunday.

Simon Mignolet will be expected to come back into the side, replacing Loris Karius between the sticks.

Likely line-ups

Newcastle: Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba, Shelvey, Merino, Ritchie, Ayoze, Atsu, Joselu

Liverpool: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Matip, Robertson, Henderson, Can, Coutinho, Salah, Firmino, Mane

Score prediction: Newcastle United 2-4 Liverpool

The game has been selected for Sky Sports TV coverage. You can also follow the match by tuning into BBC Radio Newcastle's live commentary, courtesy of the official NUFC website