Preview: Liverpool v Newcastle United

Liverpool can regain second place in the Premier League standings with a win at home to Newcastle United on Saturday.

Premier League
3 March 2018
Game week 29
Kickoff: 19:30 local time
Venue: Anfield
Referee: G. Scott
Assistants: S. Long, D. Cook
Fourth officials: N. Swarbrick

Head-to-head summary:

Liverpool 149 69 38 42 
Newcastle United 149 42 38 69 

Previous encounter:

Newcastle United 1-1 Liverpool (01/10/2017) Premier League

Newcastle United goalscorer: Joselu (36')

Liverpool goalscorer: P. Coutinho (29')

Players to watch:

Mohamed Salah continues to lead from the front for Liverpool with his 31 goals in 37 games in all competitions this season. He also has nine assists and will certainly be the main threat for Newcastle's defenders this weekend.

Dwight Gayle scored a brace last time out to take his tally for the season to five, while Joselu has weighed in with four goals, with both Ayoze Perez and Christian Atsu on two apiece.

Team form and manager quotes:

Third place Liverpool come into this game on 57 points from 28 games played, just two adrift of Manchester United in second.

They are unbeaten in five games, having last defeated West Ham 4-1 after thrashing Porto in the Champions League.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are down in 15th on 29 points, just two clear of the relegation places.

Their winless run of five games came to an end with a 1-0 defeat of Manchester United, but they come into this game following a 2-2 draw with Bournemouth – having let slip a two-nil lead in the last ten minutes of the match.

Despite his side's good form Reds boss Jurgen Klopp refused to get carried away.

He said: "I’m still not in the mood to think and feel the positivity of the situation. I am really not. Yes, when you say that we’ve won nine of the last 12 [in all competitions], it’s a good number but actually the only game we have to win is the Newcastle game. That’s really the only thing I’m interested in – that’s how I feel."

Klopp also talked up Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez, who of course guided Liverpool to a famous Champions League victory over AC Milan in 2005.

He added: "We know who is coming – a Liverpool legend is coming, Rafael Benitez one of the best managers in the world. We all know how he works, how he can organise a team, how he can make your life really difficult."

Benitez said: "I think the team were doing well (against Bournemouth). And watching the game on the video, it was a pity because we had so many chances to score the third goal and finish the game, but we didn’t do it. 

"What we have to do is learn from that – we were watching what we did well, what we could improve in attack and what we have to improve in defence and to be sure that we manage this type of game better when we are winning 2-0."

Team news:

Liverpool are sweating on the fitness of the Georginio Wijnaldum, Danny Ings and Ben Woodburn, who are all ill. Nathaniel Clyne (back) is out.

For Newcastle, Jonjo Shelvey (knee) is sidelined, alongside Islam Slimani (thigh).