The Magpies couldn’t have had a stronger trio of opponents scheduled for the first three matchdays of the 2023/24 season, and so far they have split their results evenly with a 5-1 win against Aston Villa followed by a 1-0 defeat at Manchester City last weekend.
It’s now time to face last year’s fourth-place Liverpool at SJP with the ever-crying Jurgen Klopp leading the Reds mob.
Eddie Howe expressed his disappointment following the clash at Man City, and he was very right in pointing out that the team simply didn’t compete against Pep Guardiola’s men and they never really even looked like they were trying that hard.
The Reds have to come from behind in their latest game to earn three points by way of beating Bournemouth 3-1 last weekend after trailing early. The Reds drew 1-1 against Chelsea in their MD1 matchup of the season, and are sitting in fifth position entering this weekend.
Liverpool are carrying a 13-game unbeaten streak after massively flopping through the first half of last year’s Premier League season, which cost them the title and nearly a place in the UEFA Champions League. The Magpies clinched third place above Klopp’s team last May.
Here are some of Howe’s Wisdom Nuggets, courtesy of NUFC.com
On Joelinton’s availability after he hobbled off against City last time out...
“Joe is fine. We didn’t see him in the first part of the week, but he’s trained in the latter part, so fingers crossed he’s OK.”
On Joe Willock’s ongoing recovery from a hamstring problem...
“He’s making good progress. I’d say this is the strongest he’s looked, in terms of his hamstring. I think he had his hamstring rescanned a couple of days ago and the report back on that scan was very, very good - no problems.
“He had a bit of fatigue in his hamstring - I don’t think there’s a major re-injury, but he’s done really well, he’s committed to his work. We hope that he’ll be training with us around the international break time.”
On full-back Javier Manquillo, who has returned to training at Benton...
“He’s back with us. He went for a period of treatment abroad, but he’s back and we hope he’ll train today.”
On new arrival Lewis Hall, who could make his Magpies debut this weekend, and the versatility he offers United...
“He played against us a couple of times last year, and he impressed me, as someone so young to come into those situations and perform the way he did. Preparing for those games, we watched a lot of Chelsea and he’d just broken in before our first game I believe, and he caught my eye immediately. I really liked his attitude, how he played the game, his physical attributes, his technical attributes, so I think he’s going to be a good signing for us.
“I think he has the attributes to play in many different positions. He’s only recently in his career converted to left back, so I think he’s probably had a year training and playing there. But he’s also played as a number eight, a number six, left wing, wing-back, left back, and even for England he’s played as a centre back in a back three and a back four I believe. There’s real versatility, and that was one of the attractions for us, because going into this season where we’re going to need as many players as we can to play different positions.”
On Klopp’s Liverpool, last season’s games against them and their changing make-up after a number of summer signings...
“These games are iconic, really, throughout the Premier League, the Newcastle-Liverpool battles. Last year we were disappointed in the two defeats for us. The one at Anfield was a difficult night - the last minute of that game has been replayed in my mind many times. The game at home was also painful in a different way, probably more painful for Nick in what happened for him, missing the cup final. It was a day where we didn’t start very well but I thought we played very well with ten men against 11.
“There’s slight tweaks I’d say - I don’t think the main principles have changed. They’re still very, very good at what the have been historically good at for the last four or five years. Very difficult team to play against, but they are building a new team, you would say, with slightly different characteristics in midfield. They’re an elite team with an elite manager, very, very good, and they’re going to come back strong, for sure. We know this is a really good early test for us, following on from Manchester City and Aston Villa.”
- Date: Sunday, August 27th
- Kick-off: 18:30 BST / 11:30 EST
- Location: St James’ Park, Newcastle (England)