Fernando Torres is likely to return to Liverpool’s starting line-up having missed the 3-0 destruction of Aston Villa to be with his wife as she gave birth to their second child. He is likely to replace David N’Gog to partner Ryan Babel, who retains his place after impressing and scoring against Villa.
Liverpool are likely to be without Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, enabling Lucas Leiva and Raul Meireles to continue their recent good form. Flanking them will be Maxi Rodriguez, whose goals are slowly forcing Liverpool fans to rethink their judgements of him, and Dirk Kuyt, the Daily Telegraph reports. A settled flat-back four is expected as Daniel Agger still seems some way off a first-team return.
Hodgson: No Johnson sale.
Ever since Roy Hodgson questioned the performances of Glen Johnson, saying that he expected better from England’s right-back, Johnson’s future at Liverpool has been in doubt. Speculation has been rampant that the England right-back will be sold in January to create space for new defensive additions. Speaking to skysports.com, Roy Hodgson moved to refute these reports, saying that he has no intention of selling.
“As far as I am concerned Glen Johnson will be a Liverpool player certainly until the end of his contract and possibly beyond it,” he said. “We are very happy with him, he is a top-class player, an England international, so why should we want to lose him?”
Hodgson wary of Magpies.
Roy Hodgson is aware of the effect that new managers can have on their team’s performance and is therefore wary as he takes his Liverpool team to St. James’ Park to face Newcastle.
The Magpies shockingly sacked their popular manager Chris Hughton, to replace him almost immediately with Alan Pardew. Whilst the Toon Army can barely contain their disgust, Hodgson nevertheless believes that the Newcastle team will still raise their game to impress their new manager.
“When a club changes managers sometimes, we all know, that does produce an effect where they play a lot better, maybe then they’d done running up to it,” he told Sky Sports News. He admitted to feeling sorry for the way Chris Hughton has been treated, but wanted Liverpool to spare no mercy on Newcastle as their form continues to improve.