Eddie Howe has confirmed Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock is a major doubt for Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Liverpool.
The 23-year-old was forced off during the first-half of last week’s draw at Bournemouth and the Telegraph recently claimed Willock was facing a race against time to make the Carabao Cup final later this month.
With Bruno Guimaraes suspended, Howe lacks options in the middle of the park and could be forced into a change in system.
Sean Longstaff and Joelinton are the only recognised senior central midfield players available, so perhaps we could see a 4-2-3-1 instead of a 4-3-3, with those two in the double-pivot.
Howe has hinted Anthony Gordon is in contention to start and also confirmed both Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron are fit despite injury problems of their own.
Callum Wilson, it seems, will face a late fitness test.
“Callum’s done really well,” said Howe at Friday’s pre-match press conference.
“It was a very minor complaint for him. He hasn’t trained yet and we hope he trains today and that he’s in contention.”
Newcastle United predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Joelinton, Longstaff, Almiron, Gordon, Saint-Maximin, Isak
Suspended: Bruno Guimaraes
Injured: Joe Willock (hamstring), Emil Krafth (knee), Matt Targett (heel)
Date and time: Saturday 18 February 2023 at 5.30pm GMT
Venue: St James’ Park
TV channel and live stream: Sky Sports
Referee: Anthony Taylor, Craig Pawson (VAR)