Liverpool will be aiming to bounce back from two straight Premier League defeats by seeing off a badly out of form Newcastle United side on Monday at Anfield.
With Manchester City floundering so dramatically, victory for the Reds could reignite their hopes of making the top four, just a matter of days after manager Brendan Rodgers effectively ruled out their chances of qualifying for the Champions League again having seen his side suffer a chastening loss at Arsenal.
They fell apart within the space of six minutes before half-time and found themselves outclassed by the top-flight’s most in-form team. Reaching the FA Cup semi-finals with success at Blackburn Rovers came as a relief, with Philippe Coutinho at least maintaining his fine form at a time when other key players are struggling.
A quick recap of Newcastle’s recent performances suggests that the hosts should not have too many problems in taking the three points here, but John Carver will still fight on despite seeing his chances of becoming Head Coach on a permanent basis take a hammer blow with a Tyne-Wear derby defeat at Sunderland.
It was another lacklustre effort from a side which appears to lack genuine quality, and are only in a position to stay in the Premier League thanks to an impressive run under Alan Pardew between October and December. Top scorer Papiss Cisse cannot come back quickly enough, with Yoan Gouffran and Ayoze Perez looking short on confidence.
Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel complete three-match bans for Liverpool, who are also without Mamadou Sakho. Adam Lallana and Mario Balotelli are doubtful, while Emre Can is back from suspension.
Newcastle should have defender Darryl Janmaat available in spite of a recent calf problem. This game comes too soon for Rolando Aarons and Siem De Jong.
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