PL preview: Newcastle v. Liverpool

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  • Newcastle has scored at least 2 goals in 6 of their last 7 home league games
  • Liverpool has won 7 league games in a row with a +15 goal differential
  • Rafa Benitez has failed to beat Liverpool in 5 tries

Liverpool looks to rebound from its brutal loss at the hands of Barcelona as the Reds head to St. James Park to take on Newcastle United with kickoff Saturday at 2:45 p.m. ET, live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

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Defeat at the Camp Nou midweek left Liverpool’s Champions League campaign in tatters, but the title race is still very much alive. With two games to go, Liverpool will need to be near-perfect to capitalize on any slip by Manchester City. The Reds trail by a point with the final two games at the doorstep.

Liverpool didn’t just suffer defeat midweek, as they lost a player for the season as well. Midfielder Naby Keita suffered a groin injury that will sideline him for two months, leaving the Reds with yet another player down. Roberto Firmino is a game-time decision with a muscle problem leaving him as a late substitute in the Champions League loss, while Klopp confirmed that

Newcastle, meanwhile, is safe from relegation and simply looking to prove to Rafa Benitez that they can challenge for a European place in the near future. They will have critical components in Ayoze Perez and Jamal Lascelles both returning to the field after recent injuries, while DeAndre Yedlin misses out with a groin problem. Miguel Almiron, Florian Lejeune and Sean Longstaff are all long-term absentees.

What they’re saying

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez on his contract situation: “I know the fans are supporting me and are trying to go the emotional way as they did in my first way. I am very happy with that. I can say that ‘yes’ it seems that things are moving forward a little bit, and we will see where we get to in the end.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on rebounding from Barcelona loss: “We didn’t need to pick players up in Barcelona and give them a hug. It’s in us. If you want to win in football you have to accept that you can lose. I had more positive thoughts about the game than negative because of what we did on the pitch. The boys are completely on fire. When you’re in the race, you don’t get tired. We are ambitious like hell.”

Prediction

Despite the midweek loss, Liverpool is on a tear, and they will be motivated to keep with Manchester City. All the pressure is off now as City controls the table, so Liverpool can play with freedom and not worry about outside noise. Points-wise, this season has been a success no matter the result, and while missing out on the title will sting, there’s little pressure at the end of the season. Newcastle is a strong opponent in decent form, but they won’t be up to this. Liverpool wins 2-0 comfortably.