Newcastle travel to face Liverpool at Anfield this Saturday with several pundits predicting a defeat for Rafa Benitez’s side.
Since losing to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in late January, Newcastle have strung together a four match unbeaten sequence that includes a victory over Manchester United and three draws, taking six points from a possible 12.
In fact, that defeat to the Premier League leaders is the only loss United have suffered in seven league matches in 2018, and they will travel to Merseyside with confidence after battling for a point in the reverse fixture in October when a fortunate equaliser from Joselu cancelled out Philippe Coutinho’s stunning long-range opener.
Despite a drastic upturn in form, Benitez and his players are only two points above the relegation zone in 15th place and could plunge into the bottom three should results elsewhere go against them.
Returning to Anfield is always an emotion occasion for Benitez due to the strong connection that still exists between himself, the club he managed for six years and its supporters, but pundits are forecasting it to be a miserable reunion for the United boss.
Stan Collymore, Mark Lawrenson and Paul Merson have all predicted defeat for Newcastle at Liverpool, whom they haven’t beaten in an away league fixture since 1994.
Merson, writing in his Sky Sports prediction column, expects the hosts to secure a “hard-fought” 2-1 victory before the Champions League quarter-final tie against Porto in midweek.
Lawrenson, meanwhile, believes Benitez will set up to nick a point against his former employers, but feels Liverpool will eventually overcome Newcastle and predicts a 2-0 loss for visitors in his BBC prediction competition.
Collymore, who scored the winner in THAT classic 4-3 match in 1996, feels that if Liverpool score first it will be a ” case of pick a number” as Newcastle tend to struggle for goals away from home. He settles for a 3-1 win for the home side in an interview with Bet Victor.