Liverpool-Newcastle United Preview
Jurgen Klopp credited Eddie Howe for his "exceptional" work in turning Newcastle United around ahead of Liverpool's trip to St James' Park on Saturday.
Liverpool sit nine points adrift of fourth-placed Newcastle in the Premier League table, having secured their first league win of 2023 against Everton on Monday.
With Newcastle leading the race for Champions League qualification and gearing up for an EFL Cup final meeting with Manchester United next week, Klopp believes Howe's work on Tyneside has been exemplary.
"Eddie Howe has done an exceptional job, absolutely exceptional. The financial possibilities they have, or will have, are exceptional, but it is not because of that, not at all," Klopp said.
"He arrived in a difficult situation, they stayed comfortably in the league, now the team is unrecognisable.
"He's improved players like (Miguel) Almiron, I always liked him but the way they are playing suits him.
"Callum Wilson is a fantastic striker, Bruno Guimaraes is massive for them, but he's turned them around and they are a proper threat."
While a victory for Newcastle would put them 12 points ahead of a Reds side still considered a threat to their hopes of a top-four finish by many, Howe says he has not been studying the standings.
"I don't look at the league table, I don't study it, I don't analyse it. I've said that many times," Howe said on Friday.
"The reason for that is it changes so quickly. I look at it purely as 'can we maximise our efforts?', and then the league table will take care of itself.
"I'm aware we are in a great position, but there are lots of games to come and big teams wanting to climb the table. We can't focus on them, we can only focus on ourselves."
Newcastle United - Miguel Almiron
Almiron has scored 10 goals in 22 Premier League appearances for Newcastle this season, which is one more than he managed in his first four campaigns combined (nine goals in 110 games). Almiron has not scored in any of his last four home league games, but he found the net in last week's draw at Bournemouth and will be keen to follow up with another goal here.
Liverpool - Cody Gakpo
Gakpo became just the sixth player to score his first Premier League goal for Liverpool in a Merseyside derby on Monday, and that strike should provide a huge boost for the Netherlands international following his underwhelming start to life at Anfield.
- Newcastle are winless in their last 12 Premier League meetings with Liverpool (D4 L8) since a 2-0 home win in December 2015 under Steve McClaren.
- Liverpool have come from behind to beat Newcastle 10 times in the Premier League, including a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture this season. No side has done so more often against a single opponent in Premier League history (Manchester United also 10 vs both Newcastle and Southampton).
- This is the first time Newcastle are facing Liverpool in the Premier League while at least five places above the Reds in the table since September 2006, when 15th-placed Liverpool beat Newcastle (in 9th) 2-0 at Anfield.
- Alexander Isak scored on his Newcastle debut in the reverse fixture against Liverpool. The last Magpies player to net home and away league goals against the Reds in the same season was Alan Shearer in 1999-00.
- Mohamed Salah - who has scored six goals in his last 10 Premier League games against Newcastle - has scored 126 Premier League goals for Liverpool, and is just two goals away from equalling Robbie Fowler (128) in becoming the Reds' highest scorer in the competition.
Updated February 17, 2023