07 March 2008

Liverpool v Newcastle 11pm 8 March 2008

Javier Mascherano is a major doubt for Liverpool after picking up a muscle injury in the 4-0 win over West Ham.
Daniel Agger is continuing his comeback from a broken metatarsal, but is unlikely to figure against Newcastle.
Joey Barton is unavailable due to his bail conditions, while Newcastle will also be without the injured trio of Mark Viduka, Emre and Stephen Carr.
Nicky Butt, who limped off against Blackburn last weekend, has been declared fit to play.
Liverpool (from): Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Hyypia, Riise, Aurelio, Babel, Benayoun, Gerrard, Mascherano, Alonso, Torres, Kuyt, Crouch, Lucas, Finnan, Itandje.
Newcastle (from): Harper, Beye, Enrique, Taylor, Faye, Cacapa, Butt, N'Zogbia, Milner, Duff, Owen, Smith, Martins, Carroll, Edgar, Forster, Geremi.
Liverpool have hit form. They are chasing a fifth successive victory in league and cup to set them in the right frame of mind for Tuesday's Champions League visit to Inter Milan, where they lead 0-2 and will be vying to become England's fourth representatives in the quarter-finals.
Wednesday's awesome 4-0 home win over West Ham, when Fernando Torres scored his third hat-trick of the season, saw them leapfrog Merseyside rivals Everton, back into a top four Champions League qualifying spot. It was their third league win on the bounce. Now they're hunting a 300th victory in the Premier League, in Rafa Benitez' 225th match in charge.
It's a daunting prospect for a struggling Newcastle, who are just three points above the drop zone. They have lost their last three, and the last five on the road, and are still seeking a first victory since Kevin Keegan's return.
Liverpool have scored more Premier League goals against Newcastle than against any other club (55).

Highest achievable after Saturday's matches: 4th Lowest could fall: 4th
All statistics and sequences refer to the Premier League only, unless otherwise stated.
1. Won the last four in all competitions; lost one of seven.
2. Unbeaten in five; won four and drew one since the defeat at West Ham - their only loss in 12.
3. Lost three times; only Arsenal have been beaten less frequently (just once).
4. Drawn 11 - more than any other club.
5. Conceded 20 goals; only Manchester United (15) and Chelsea (17) have shipped fewer. Also, allowed the opposition to score first in six games; only Manchester United can better that (five times).
6. Shown 36 cards (all yellow); only Everton have a better disciplinary record with 32 cards (29 yellow, three red).
7. Registered five goalless draws. Only Portsmouth have also been involved in as many as that.
8. One goal short of conceding 600 all-time in this league.
9. Challenging for a fourth successive home victory, and not lost in six on home soil. Manchester United is the only club to have left Anfield with all three points this season. Indeed, the 0-1 defeat to the Red Devils on 16 December is their only reverse in 18 home matches over a calendar year.
10. The next league game after this is home to Reading, then it's away to Manchester United, home to Everton in what is now a crucial Merseyside derby, and away to Arsenal at the beginning of April.
Highest achievable after Saturday's matches: 12th Lowest could fall: 14th
All statistics and sequences refer to the Premier League only, unless otherwise stated.
1. Registered just one victory in 14 in all competitions; the win being 4-1, home to Stoke in the FA Cup third round replay on 16 January.
2. Picked up three points from the 33 available since their last victory; 0-1 against Fulham at Craven Cottage on 15 December.
3. Scored just three goals in six games under Keegan, during which two points have been accrued.
4. Already conceded six more goals than last season (53); only Derby (57) and Reading (55) have leakier defences this season. Let in 10 goals in the last five minutes - two more than any other club.
5. Gone in at half-time all square in 15 games; only Wigan match that.
6. Bottom in the "Last Six Current Form" table with two points from the possible 18.
7. One draw shy of 150 in this league all time.
8. Averaging a point a game this term. The current tally of 28 points after 28 matches is seven points fewer than their previous lowest to this juncture of the campaign. Only 35 points were accrued by this corresponding stage in 1997-98, when they finished 13th (last season they also finished 13th).
9. Only beaten Bolton and Fulham on the road all season. Gained one win from 12 on their travels, and only picked up one point from a last possible 24 against North-west clubs; 0-0, home to Bolton on 19 January.
10. Due to visit Birmingham next, before two fixtures against London clubs, home to Fulham and away to Tottenham.
Fernando TORRES is Liverpool's top scorer with 24 goals, and their leading marksman in the Premier League with 18. Only Cristiano RONALDO (Manchester United) and Emmanuel ADEBAYOR (Arsenal) have scored more in the highest league; 21 and 19 respectively.
Goalkeeper Jose REINA is the only remaining player to have been on the field for every minute of every one of Liverpool's Premier League matches this season.
REINA leads the race for the Barclays Golden Glove with 13 clean sheets.
Obafemi MARTINS is Newcastle's top scorer with seven goals.
MARTINS is also the club's top marksmen in the Premier League with six.
If selected:-
Michael OWEN will be facing a former club. The 28 year old England international striker made 297 appearances (216 in the league) and scored 158 goals (118 league) for Liverpool, from the beginning of his career until his move to Real Madrid in August 2004.
OWEN will be making his 250th Premier League appearance (Liverpool and Newcastle).
Newcastle have not claimed maximum points at Anfield since their first Premier League visit on 16 April 1994 when Rob Lee and Andy Cole were on target in a 0-2 triumph. They've only claimed two points out of 39 on Liverpool turf.
Liverpool are aiming to complete a fifth Premier League double over the Tyneside club and first since 2005-06.
Home and awayLeague (inc PL): Liverpool 68 wins, Newcastle 40, Draws 37Prem: Liverpool 16 wins, Newcastle 7, Draws 6
at Liverpool onlyLeague (inc PL): Liverpool 47 wins, Newcastle 11, Draws 14Prem: Liverpool 11 wins, Newcastle 1, Draws 2
Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle United20 September 2006 - Ref: Mark HalseyLiverpool scorers: Kuyt 29, Alonso 79
Newcastle United 0-3 Liverpool24 November 2007 - Ref: Alan Wiley Liverpool scorers: Gerrard 28, Kuyt 46, Babel 66
by BBC Sports

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