The Newcastle team v Liverpool will be another interesting selection for Steve Bruce.
The NUFC Head Coach having the toughest of games after the international break.
A Liverpool side who have won their last 13 Premier League matches and only one defeat (home or away) in the last 43 PL games, which was predictably away at Manchester City.
Coming away with anything from this game would be a massive bonus but is it possible?
It might be unlikely but of course we all know that unexpected results can happen, so what kind of team can Steve Bruce put out to try and cause an upset?
The Head Coach has already given us injury/fitness updates this week and there’s no chance of Matt Ritchie, Allan Saint-Maximin, Dwight Gayle or Andy Carroll being involved.
As for the longer-termed injured, Florian Lejeune won’t be involved either, although there has been suggestions that DeAndre Yedlin could be nearing full fitness. However, there is surely no chance of him going straight into Saturday’s team and risk injury, especially with Manquillo and Krafth both available.
On that basis, it appears that we will once again be seeing a first eleven chosen from those that were available for Watford two weeks ago.
The team that day was Dubravka, Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems, Hayden, Longstaff, Almiron, Joelinton.
With the subs being: Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Fernandez, Ki, Shelvey, Muto.
As you can see, the options are limited.
Dubravka will obviously start and whilst centre-back is where Newcastle have most strength in dept, difficult to see Steve Bruce changing from the three central defenders or indeed that three/five at the back formation, although both Clark and Fernandez as replacements wouldn’t cause concerns for most fans.
We haven’t so far seen anything to suggest that Krafth is any better than Manquillo but the Swede looks to be now first choice and going to get a run in the team. On the other side, with Matt Ritchie injured there doesn’t appear to be any real competition for Jetro Willems.
With mobility and stamina sure to be needed, Hayden and Longstaff are surely guaranteed to start. Always a chance that Steve Bruce might bring Jonjo Shelvey back into the team at some point but on a day when defending and high energy levels will be top of the agenda, Anfield won’t be the place.
To find a place for Shelvey it would almost certainly have to be instead of one of the two players supporting Joelinton and with a threat needed via quick players who can both defend and then get up and support the Brazilian, neither can be sacrificed.
Joelinton is a sure starter but what about the other two?
Christian Atsu has done ok and looks set for a bit of a run maybe, at least until Saint-Maximin is fit.
However, I feel there may be one change. Criticism of Miguel Almiron has been way over the top but he will be the last player back from international duty and in such a tough game, I think Steve Bruce might think it is worth putting Muto in on the right side and use Almiron as an impact sub if still anything to play for later in the game.
Which gives me this predicted Newcastle team v Liverpool:
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