Well here we are... the end of one of the weirdest Premier League seasons ever. Newcastle somehow finish the season as a mid table side, despite Steve Bruce pulling out all the stops to manage this team into oblivion, and Liverpool get to lift the Premier League trophy after a 30 year wait.
Neither side has anything to play for, as Newcastle are going to likely finish in 13th or 14th regardless of the result, and Liverpool can’t surpass the 100 point mark with a win. There is literally nothing to play for, which means this is going to be one weird ass preview. I have NO IDEA what is going to happen. So let’s get weird.
Well I mean, Liverpool are very good and Newcastle are not. Liverpool dropped the ball a little bit after they mathematically won the league. Since then however, they have still been capable of absolutely destroying teams. Their 5-3 win over Chelsea was a good example of this side’s ability to flip on their offensive prowess at will.
The results since the restart for each club are below:
Newcastle 3-0 Sheffield United
Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa
Bournemouth 1-4 Newcastle
Newcastle 2-2 West Ham
Manchester City 5-0 Newcastle
Watford 2-1 Newcastle
Newcastle 1-3 Tottenham
Brighton 0-0 Newcastle
Everton 0-0 Liverpool
Liverpool 4-0 Crystal Palace
Manchester City 4-0 Liverpool
Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
Brighton 1-3 Liverpool
Liverpool 1-1 Burnley
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Liverpool 5-3 Chelsea
What do Newcastle have to do to win?
Honestly the biggest win for Newcastle would be to go into next season with no more injuries.
With the season slated to start September 12th, Newcastle will already be wondering about the fitness of two key defenders in Jamaal Lascelles and Fabian Schar. It would be ridiculous to risk losing another key player by playing them in this meaningless match.
If I were Steve Bruce I would rest the likes of Shelvey, Miggy, Joelinton (lolz),Ritchie and ASM because there is no reason to play them. With the injury luck Newcastle have had the past few weeks, it is entirely possible one of them picks up an injury that could see them out of action for months.
The same goes for Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff who have recently returned to training, but should remain on the bench for their own sakes.
Play the kids, and close out the season with no further injuries.
Players to watch
It’s Liverpool. The whole damn team is really good.
Pick your poison, literally.
Injuries... of which there are many
For Liverpool Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip are unlikely to feature although they are fit. Adam Lallana is on the verge of joining Brighton, while Dejan Lovren is on his way to join Russian club Zenit.
On the Newcastle side, Jamaal Lascelles and Fabian Schar won’t be available for the next few weeks, but Steve Bruce is hopeful they will be ready ahead of the 2020-2021 campaign. Cirian Clark, Florian Lejeune, and Paul Dummett, are still injured of course, and are expected to recover ahead of next season’s campaign.
Emil Krafth picked up an ankle injury in the Brighton match and won’t be available. This leaves the difficult decision for Steve Bruce as whether he will give youngster Kell Watts his Premier League debut or whether he will risk re-injuring a player like Isaac Hayden who has deployed as a defender before. It is worth noting that Kell Watts has not played first team football since March.
As stated earlier, Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden are both available for selection after recovering from their injuries and appearing in training. It is possible Hayden plays as a center back, but it would be shocking if Longstaff makes an appearance.
One Bold Prediction
Kell Watts starts this match.
I am not a huge fan of Kell Watts starting over Emil Krafth, like many fans were calling for last week. But, I am however a fan of starting Kell Watts to keep everyone else who will certainly be in the first team picture next season healthy.
Watts is by no means Premier League ready, but who cares at this point.
One Not So Bold Prediction
Christian Atsu will almost score.
I mean why not? I hope Atsu gets to play, because this is a meaningless match and it could be his last appearance.
The Elijah Newsome Clout Rating
Liverpool have the coolest coach in the prem, are exciting to watch, have a top 3 player at every position, and won the league.
Plus they have Gini Wijnaldum who literally is one of the best signings of the Ashley era, and actually has a tremendous amount of love and respect for Newcastle.
I feel like I don’t have to say anything else.
Clout rating: 5 full English breakfasts with American Bacon and a cup of the finest Scandinavian coffee
Oh gosh this could get funky. You would imagine Liverpool would rotate and give some other guys on their rosters a chance to impress ahead of the new season.
Newcastle SHOULD do that... but it is Steve Bruce, and I expect him to still put out a semi strong lineup. That being said, he probably won’t start Lazaro.
Newcastle Projected Lineup (5-4-1): Dubravka, Yedlin, Watts, Fernandez, Rose, Ritchie, Bentaleb, M. Longstaff, Almiron, Allan, Carroll
Liverpool Projected Lineup (4-3-3): Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Jones, Elliot, Minamino, Origi
One Random Fact to Say at the Bar
A win would give the Magpies 47 points, their highest Premier League tally since they amassed 49 under Alan Pardew in 2013-14.
Elijah’s Never Wrong Prediction
No chance Newcastle win. If Liverpool rotate, that rotated side is probably better than the Newcastle side that will be announced.
Newcastle 1-3 Liverpool
Match Facts and Where to Watch
Date: Sunday, 26 July 2020
Kick-off: 11:00 AM EST, 4:00PM GMT
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
TV Coverage: NBC Sports Gold/Peacock, Telemundo (USA), BT Sport (UK)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Newcastle plan on debuting their 2020-2021 kits this Sunday, a kit that has had mixed reviews thus far.
I’ll leave you with this wonderful quote from-Steve Bruce, because it is something.
“I hope that they’ve been partying for three nights after they lifted the trophy and I hope there’s a few of them who are worse for wear!”