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Preview: Newcastle United vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Premier League clash between Newcastle United and Liverpool, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Liverpool bring an unforgettable and historic 2020 to a close at St James' Park on Wednesday night as the champions take on Newcastle United.

Jurgen Klopp's side will be looking to return to winning ways after a disappointing draw with West Bromwich Albion last time out, while Newcastle are now winless in four across all competitions.

Match preview

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on December 27, 2020© Reuters

Regardless of the unprecedented challenges they and the wider world have faced in 2020, it will always be the year in which Liverpool finally ended their 30-year wait to win the title again.

Klopp's men are still in pole position to repeat that achievement in 2021, but they will be desperate to end their year on a high after such a disappointing result last time out.

Liverpool dominated in the first half against West Brom but then took their foot off the pedal with only a one-goal lead in the second half, eventually being made to pay by Semi Ajayi's late equaliser - only the second time the Reds have dropped points in a home league game since January 2019.

It also means that Liverpool have now failed to win six of their 15 league outings this season - as many as they did throughout the entirety of their title-winning campaign last term.

The Reds have also now conceded 20 goals in the league this season - a tally it took them 28 games to reach last term - and the loss of their last available recognised senior centre-back Joel Matip to injury is not likely to help that statistic.

Liverpool defender Joel Matip receives treatment for an injury on December 27, 2020© Reuters

That said, the champions still sit three points clear at the top of the table and will be favourites to at least keep that lead intact with victory over Newcastle on Wednesday.

Liverpool have only won two of their seven away games so far this season, but the most recent of those saw them rack up their biggest ever away top-flight victory - a 7-0 obliteration of Crystal Palace.

That match showcased the Merseysiders at their ruthless best, and even if they are only half as clinical on Wednesday night it would still take a monumental effort from Newcastle to prevent Liverpool from winning their final game of the calendar year for the seventh time in a row.

Newcastle themselves have only won their final league game in two of the last 17 calendar years, losing 12 of those, and they head into Wednesday's match in poor form.

A four-game winless run across all competitions, which includes a heavy defeat to Leeds United, a home draw against struggling Fulham and an EFL Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Championship side Brentford, has seen the pressure on manager Steve Bruce begin to grow a little bit once again.

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce pictured on November 6, 2020© Reuters

A 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on Boxing Day leaves them 13th in the table, still seven points from the relegation zone but with a difficult double-header coming up either side of the New Year as Leicester City follow Liverpool in visiting St James' Park.

Liverpool are the division's highest scorers, and the manner in which they put Palace to the sword in their last away game does not bode well for a Newcastle side that has failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 home league outings - their longest such run since February 2005.

The Magpies are surprisingly unbeaten in their last four top-flight home games against the reigning champions, though, and will have taken confidence from West Brom's smash-and-grab showing at Anfield on Sunday.

However, they are winless in their last seven Premier League games against Liverpool and could lose six successive top-flight editions of this fixture for the first time ever.

Liverpool could also win three consecutive top-flight away games against Newcastle for the first time ever, having won 3-2 and 3-1 on their last two visits.

Newcastle United Premier League form: LWWLDL
Newcastle United form (all competitions): WWLDLL

Liverpool Premier League form: DWDWWD
Liverpool form (all competitions): WDDWWD

Team News

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara after the full-time whistle against Everton on October 17.© Reuters

There could be mixed news on the injury front for Liverpool in this match, with Matip out after suffering an adductor injury against West Brom but Thiago Alcantara pushing to be included in the matchday squad.

The full extent of Matip's problem is yet to be revealed, but he is expected to miss a few weeks, leaving Liverpool without a senior fit centre-back with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez still long-term absentees.

Rhys Williams replaced Matip on Sunday but Klopp could opt for Nat Phillips this time, while Jordan Henderson has also filled in alongside Fabinho this season.

Thiago has been sidelined for 16 matches after picking up a knee injury in the Merseyside derby, but he is now close to his highly-anticipated return and could be involved from the bench in this match.

Klopp may decide to be extra cautious over his fitness and hold him back for one more game, although the need for midfield reinforcements has grown with Naby Keita suffering another injury setback which rules him out of this match.

Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas also remain sidelined for a while, but there was good news at the weekend as James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri returned to the squad.

Rotation is possible given the quick turnaround in fixtures, although with such limited options Klopp's hand may be forced to a certain extent.

Newcastle have a number of absentees themselves, with Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin still feeling the effects of catching COVID-19.

Jonjo Shelvey and Ryan Fraser are both expected to miss out due to groin injuries, while goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is a long-term absentee.

Newcastle can welcome Callum Wilson back into the fold, though, with the striker being left as an unused sub against Man City despite scoring eight goals in 12 games so far this season.

Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Darlow; Manquillo, Fernandez, Schar, Clark, Lewis; Ritchie, Longstaff, Hayden, Joelinton; Wilson

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Fabinho, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane

SM words green background

We say: Newcastle United 1-2 Liverpool

Liverpool are usually good at responding to disappointing results, although usually that comes at home after dropping points away from home whereas this is the other way around.

We can see Newcastle scoring given Liverpool's deepening defensive injury crisis, but with the league's top scorer in Mohamed Salah and both Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino beginning to find form again, the visitors should have enough to return to winning ways, even if one of that trio is rested.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States24282173
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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