Optimists would argue that the Premier League title is still all to play for. If Liverpool can defeat Newcastle and West Ham can pull off a shock victory over Man City on the league leaders’ home soil, the title would be theirs for the first time in the era of the Premier League. However, realists will realise that this is unlikely and Liverpool have probably resigned to not winning the title. Dropped points against Chelsea and Crystal Palace over the past fortnight could prove crucial in having given the upper hand back to leaders Man City, who must now only draw with West Ham to claim a second league title in three years, since they are two points clear and 13 ahead on goal difference.
Liverpool had built up 11 consecutive wins to place themselves in the prime position to take their first league title in 24 years and guarantee a UEFA Champions League return. However, Brendan Rodger’s side arguably blew it on the home straight, by losing 2-0 to Chelsea at home and letting a three goal advantage slip to a 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace. Although the Reds look set to finish second in the league – an improvement on five places from last year – their mistakes in the past two weeks will likely tarnish what has otherwise been a successful season.
Alan Pardew, meanwhile, has had a difficult time, despite all but securing a top ten league finish for his Newcastle men. Club owner Mike Ashley gave him a seven-year deal last year and demanded a top ten position, but fans have loudly demanded Pardew’s dismissal in the past few weeks. Although they ended a run of six consecutive defeats at home against Cardiff City last week, too often the Magpies play without confidence and it seems the end of the season cannot come soon enough for them. Newcastle have amassed just 16 points in 18 Premier League games in 2014 and will secure a top ten league finish mainly due to their early season form. However, even though it is difficult to view Newcastle’s season as anything other than traumatic, they will finish the league in ninth, or at worst 10th, which is either six or seven places higher than last season.
Whilst it looks likely that Liverpool will beat a struggling Newcastle, to win the league, the Reds will need some dramatic news from the Ethiad. The league title may be out of Liverpool’s grasp, but they look set to finish their season in emphatic fashion.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Newcastle 2 (Cabaye, Dummett) Liverpool 2 (Gerrard, Sturridge), Premier League, October 2013
Newcastle 0, Liverpool 6 (Agger, Henderson 2, Sturridge 2, Borini), Premier League, April 2013
Liverpool 1 (Suarez) Newcastle 1 (Cabaye), Premier League, November 2012
Newcastle haven’t won at Anfield in the league since 1994
Newcastle have won just one of their previous seven league matches away from home.
The last time the Magpies won their final match of a Premier League campaign was in 2005-06, when they beat Chelsea 1-0 at home.
Liverpool need one more goal to break the 100-goal barrier in the league this season. Chelsea hold the Premier League record, scoring 103 in 2010.
Luis Suarez needs one more goal to surpass the Premier League scoring record of 31 goals in a 38-game season, currently held by Cristiano Ronaldo and Alan Shearer. The last time a Liverpool player scored 32 league goals was Ian Rush in 1983-84.
Liverpool have scored three goals in four out of the last five times they have played Newcastle at Anfield.
Liverpool to win: 1.22
Newcastle to win: 12.50
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