For football fans of a certain vintage, Liverpool vs Newcastle means just one thing: high scoring rollercoaster clashes in the 1990s.
The Reds won 4-3 in April 1996, in a match which is widely considered to be the greatest of the Premier League era. Eleven months later the sides played out another 4-3 thriller, but there’s unlikely to be as many goals when they clash on Boxing Day.
While Liverpool’s poor recent record against Manchester United (prior to their recent win) is well known, it might surprise some Kopites to learn Newcastle are Jürgen Klopp’s second-least favourite opponent.
Liverpool’s 2-0 win in March earlier this year is their only victory in four meetings with the Magpies since the German took charge at Anfield.
It’s interesting to note the expected goal data for 2018/19 predicts 2-0 as the most likely score line for this match too. And it makes sense, as Rafa Benitez’ side tend to sit in deep when they face one of the big sides.
Liverpool should win, but when up against a stubborn opponent and with Arsenal due at Anfield just three days later, the Reds will hope to win with as little energy expended as possible. They are unlikely to run riot here, so a bet on a 2-0 outcome looks sensible and is available at 23/4 with Karamba.
Is there any hope for Newcastle? The bookies certainly don’t think so – they are priced at a whopping 16/1 with BetHard to win – and with good reason.
Since returning to the top flight, the Geordies have had a horrendous away record against teams in the top half of the table. In 2017/18, they lost every match against the clubs who finished first to eighth.
While they recently picked up a point at Goodison Park, they have lost at both Manchester clubs this season, and their other away games have been against teams who are currently in the bottom seven. Even a point would appear to be a stunning result for Newcastle here – it’s available at 7/1 with 888Sport.
8 - Since the start of last season, Mohamed Salah has scored and assisted in eight different Premier League games for Liverpool - more than any other player in the division. Proficient. #WOLLIVpic.twitter.com/SPUnj80JCk— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 21, 2018
The odds are also strongly in favour of Liverpool scoring first, which does the Magpies’ hopes no favours either. Newcastle have lost every league match where they have conceded the first goal this season, and lost 15 out of 20 last term too.
There’s no value in betting on the home side to score first – their price to do so is 2/15 – but as they’ve done so 15 times in 2018/19 already, it would be a surprise if they didn’t do so again here.
A big part of that is down to the record of Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian has scored 11 league goals in 2018/19, with eight of them being the first goal of games. It’s no wonder Salah is the favourite to open the scoring once again, and Paddy Power offer 5/2 that he does so.
For better value in the scorer market, keep Xherdan Shaqiri in mind for a last scorer bet. The former Stoke man has scored five league goals this season, and three of them have been the final goal of the match.
Only four Premier League players have bagged more closing goals this season, so a bet on Shaqiri in this market is worth thinking about. He’s priced at 5/1 with Ladbrokes to score the last goal.
While it’s hard to see Newcastle scoring, as Liverpool have only conceded two goals in their last 13 league matches at Anfield, if you want a tip for a scorer then Salomon Rondon is the obvious choice.
He’s the only Magpie with more than one away league goal this season, and even then he only has two. The fact most of the Liverpool squad are rated more likely to score than he is sums up Newcastle’s chances here, but the Venezuelan is available at 7/2 to net with William Hill if you fancy a flutter.
If you’ve got this far, my final two tips won’t be a surprise: under 2.5 goals, and ‘no’ for both teams to score. Only one of the last six meetings has seen at least three goals, and that saw Liverpool throw away a two goal lead in April 2016.
With their vastly improved back line it’s impossible to fathom a repeat, so take Mansion Bet’s price of 37/20 for under 2.5 goals. They offer 20/31 for at least one team to draw a blank – one side has done so in four of the last six clashes, so I’d expect at least one ‘nil’ in this game too.
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