Liverpool will look to keep pace with high-flying Premier League leader Manchester City, when the Reds host struggling Newcastle at Anfield on Thursday.
Pressure is on the Reds to match Man City, which has won seven in a row. Liverpool (2nd, 37 points) is just four points back and on a five-game Premier League win streak of its own since November’s shocking defeat to West Ham, the Reds’ only loss of their league season thus far.
At the other end of the table, Eddie Howe may only be four games into his Newcastle managerial tenure, but there is a real sense of urgency given they’re mired in a relegation battle and they’re coming off a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Leicester City. Still, the Magpies (19th, 10 points) have earned four points in four matches under Howe, a decent haul considering the club was on six points — all from draws — in the 12 matches prior to his hire. They’re three points from the safe zone entering the match.
MORE: Pep beats Klopp’s record in lopsided win
Sporting News will be following the match live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Liverpool vs. Newcastle live score
(All times Eastern)
2:06 p.m. ET: Lineups are in.
For Liverpool, van Dijk indeed misses after testing positive for COVID-19, as Ibrahima Konate comes in to center-back and Joe Gomez makes the bench. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been used up front of late, slides back into midfield with Fabinho out, preferred over Naby Keita and James Milner who both remain on the bench.
Newcastle does slide a struggling Miguel Almiron to the bench, but not in favor of the three-CB system as we thought might happen. Instead, a more traditional lineup sees Ryan Fraser get his first start of December.
1:58 p.m. ET: That jinx barely even took 10 minutes. Liverpool announces three players will miss today’s match due to COVID-19. This could be significant not just today but moving forward for Liverpool. According to the Liverpool Echo, the Reds did not apply for the game to be postponed as they do not, at this point, view the situation as an “outbreak.”
Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Virgil van Dijk will miss tonight’s Premier League fixture against Newcastle United after registering suspected positive tests for COVID-19.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 16, 2021
1:46 p.m. ET: Liverpool (at the risk of a big jinx) has to this point avoided a COVID-19 outbreak that other Premier League teams are beginning to fall victim to. Part of the reason is Jurgen Klopp’s hard stance on vaccination. A report this morning stated that 25% of EFL players polled stated they had no plans to get vaccinated, which could cause a problem for clubs as the Omicron variant pushes through Europe. Klopp, meanwhile, has championed this narrative for quite a while now, and it has resonated with the squad and staff.
1:30 p.m. ET: Here’s one player who’d love to get in on the scoring action. The six games without a goal or assist is across all competitions.
Sadio Mane is currently on a streak of 6 games without a goal or assist, which is 1 off his longest run without a goal contribution for Liverpool, when he went 7 games in October and November of 2018.
Can he turn it around tonight against Newcastle? pic.twitter.com/YS2RQIR0XH
— Anfield Edition (@AnfieldEdition) December 16, 2021
11:48 a.m. ET: Liverpool’s scoring today, right? Only question is how many:
📊 STAT: Liverpool have scored in 25 consecutive home matches against Newcastle – a Premier League-record run, while they have found the net in 38 of the last 39 in the top flight at Anfield. #awlive [lfc] pic.twitter.com/ObVNjy548V
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) December 16, 2021
Liverpool vs. Newcastle lineups
Liverpool starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): Alisson (GK) — Robertson, Konate, Matip, Alexander-Arnold — Thiago, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain — Mane, Jota, Salah
Liverpool subs (9): Kelleher (GK) – Pitaluga, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Gomez, Minamino, Tsimikas, Williams.
Newcastle projected starting lineup (4-2-3-1, left to right): Dubravka (GK) — Manquillo, Lascelles, Schar, Lewis — Hayden, Shelvey, Frasier, Murphy — Saint-Maximin, Joelinton
Newcastle subs (9): Darlow (GK) – Clark, Wilson, Ritchie, Hendrick, Almiron, Willock, Gayle, Longstaff.
How to watch Liverpool vs. Newcastle
Date: Thursday, Dec. 16Time: 3 p.m. ETTV Channel: — None —Streaming: Peacock (subscription required)
The Liverpool vs. Newcastle match is available exclusively on NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock, with no television coverage in the United States.
The subscription to Peacock Premium costs users $4.99 a month and it comes with a full schedule of exclusive Premier League matches.
Pre-match betting lines, picks & predictions
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
The bookmakers are eyeing a blowout in this one, and understandably so. Liverpool has obliterated almost everyone in its wake this season…until recently.
The Reds fell to West Ham in early November, and a few weaknesses have sprung up since then. They bounced back wonderfully, putting four goals past each of Arsenal, Southampton, and Everton, but they have slogged to a pair of 1-0 wins in their last two matches against defensively stout teams in Wolves and Aston Villa.
Newcastle cannot claim to categorize itself as “defensively stout” as the Magpies haven’t kept a single clean sheet this entire Premier League season. Still, this could be an opportunity for Klopp to rest some tired legs. However, it does appear possible to take advantage of the oddsmakers love for Liverpool and jump on a few plus odds in favor of Newcastle keeping things close, while still expecting Liverpool to come away with all three points.
Backing Mohamed Salah also seems ideal, with the Egyptian in spectacular form. Salah has scored or assisted a goal in every single Premier League game this season save one from way back in August. His anytime-scorer odds are worthless, but first-goalscorer odds look enticing enough, especially if Klopp again selects Oxlade-Chamberlain as the central striker. If Jota returns to the lineup, he is one to eye as well, having scored six goals in his last eight starts.
Pick: Newcastle +2.5 (-105), Salah first goalscorer (+200)
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle
Moneyline: Liverpool -900 / Draw +950 / Newcastle +2200Spread: Liverpool -2.5 (-105) / Newcastle +2.5 (-105)O/U 3.5 total goals: Over -130 / Under +105Both teams to score: Yes +110 / No -145