Eddie Howe talks to BT Sport. “We found out around lunchtime today [about Isak’s work permit] so that was a nice thing for us in the build-up. We’re really excited and keen to see how he does tonight. I don’t know if there’s ever a good time to play Liverpool at Anfield. They’re full of confidence off the back of the 9-0 but wherever we’ve gone we’ve shown a fearlessness in our approach and we’ve got to do that again today.”
A minor historical coincidence. Today is the 25th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales … and Liverpool versus Newcastle United was the televised game called off that ill-fated Sunday in August 1997 as a result of her passing. The previous two stagings of the fixture had both ended 4-3 – the aforementioned Stan Collymore game in April 1996, then an ersatz repeat in March 1997 in which Liverpool shipped a three-goal lead only for Robbie Fowler to spare their blushes in the last minute – and so the match had been highly anticipated. But it could not be. The fixture was eventually rearranged for January, Liverpool winning 1-0 thanks to an early Michael Owen goal.
Jurgen Klopp tells BT Sport that the 9-0 result against Bournemouth is not the reason he’s named the same starting XI tonight. “It was more the performance, and it is early in the season, and we need to find rhythm. Now we have to keep it. We had time from Saturday to Wednesday, so there was no need for rotation. Tomorrow Diogo [Jota] will be in training and Darwin [Nunez] will be free again, so it looks better now. We have to create consistency. You never can guarantee a result, but you can guarantee a specific performance if we go into it and throw everything on the pitch with an outstanding attitude.”
If it ain’t broke, etc., and so Liverpool name an unchanged side in the wake of that 9-0 rout of Bournemouth. Darwin Nunez serves the last game of his suspension, while Joel Matip and Curtis Jones return from injury to take up places on the bench.
Alexander Isak received his work permit today and will make his Newcastle debut. The 22-year-old Swedish striker is one of four changes to Eddie Howe’s side from the 1-1 draw at Wolves. Isak replaces Chris Wood, while Jamal Lascelles, Matt Targett and Ryan Fraser come in for Fabian Schar, Sven Botman and the hamstrung Allan Saint-Maximin.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Elliott, Fabinho, Henderson, Salah, Firmino, Diaz.
Subs: Milner, Adrian, Jones, Tsimikas, Carvalho, Matip, Bajcetic, Phillips, Davies.
Newcastle United: Pope, Trippier, Lascelles, Burn, Targett, Willock, Sean Longstaff, Fraser, Almiron, Isak, Joelinton.
Subs: Botman, Schar, Ritchie, Lewis, Manquillo, Wood, Murphy, Darlow, Anderson.
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands).
It’s Liverpool versus Newcastle United at Anfield. Another seven-goal thriller such as this …
… would be most welcome. Kick off is at 8pm BST. It’s on!