Rafa Benitez has just announced his Newcastle team for the crucial game at Liverpool this afternoon and it’s an unchanged side that drew with Manchester City 1-1 on Tuesday night at St. James’ Park.
That was not unexpected.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Randall, Toure, Lovren, Moreno, Stewart, Allen, Milner, Lallana, Firmino, Sturridge
Subs: Ward Skrtel Smith Coutinho Lucas Ibe Ojo
Newcastle: Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Townsend, Tiote, Colback, Sissoko (c), Perez, Cisse
Subs: Woodman, Mbabu, Shelvey, Wijnaldum, Aarons, De Jong, Mitrovic
Sissoko will again play in central midfield with Andros Townsend and Ayoze Perez on the wings – so some kind of stability is coming to the Newcastle side, with Wijnaldum and Shelvey again on the bench.
James Milner, the former Newcastle winger who left us in August, 2008 for Aston Villa, starts today for Liverpool.
Newcastle must try to get something out of this game today – and it’s the most difficult of the four games we still have to play this season.
This is what Rafa has said about this game:
“We know our away form is not the best.” “But the reaction from our players in the last two games has shown that we can improve.” “The team looks good and they are a lot more positive that they can win.”
“Manchester City was massive for the morale of the team. Now we have this confidence and we have to keep fighting and keep working hard in order to get three points.”
“It doesn’t matter who we play, we need three points. I am a professional and I am the Newcastle manager, so I will go to Liverpool wanting to win.”
“Liverpool are doing well, they are a great team with a very good manager.”
“I’ve met Jurgen a couple of times before and I know he’s a very passionate manager and hopefully he does well for Liverpool in the Europa League.”
“His team are scoring a lot of goals and playing well. It won’t be just our defense that will have to work hard, it will be the entire team.”
“We have to be sure that we stick together and play to win.
“I have a first-hand experience at Liverpool but we have to go there and get three points. It’s what we have to do and we know that we can do it.”
“They still have a few players who can come in and be very strong in attack.” “It doesn’t make much difference how Liverpool line up because it will always be a hard game for us.”
“We have to believe. I am not just happy with two good games – we have to fight until the end.”
Given that we haven’t won at Anfield since 1994 – when Kevin Keegan’s team won 2-0 on 16th April with goals from Rob Lee and Andy Cole – about one in three fans still think we can pull off the win today.