The Newcastle boss took to his post-match interview to confirm that he does not expect any of the eight players currently injured to return to action for the New Year’s Day clash with Liverpool at Anfield.
It has been a disappointing December for the Magpies with a struggle for convincing performances, mounting injuries and fatigue that have caused them to crash out of the Champions League and Carabao Cup in recent weeks.
Eddie Howe has been trying his best to manage his significantly weakened starting eleven and has found himself unable to rotate or call upon quality reinforcements when injuries have occurred, which caused further concern when Nottingham Forest thrashed Newcastle at St James’ Park on Boxing Day.
This time of year is full to the brim with fixtures every few days which means having a depleted squad will leave any club in a compromised position when it comes to performances on the pitch.
Whilst the likes of Alexander Isak, Callum Wilson and Sven Botman have recently returned to the starting eleven, injuries to Nick Pope, Joelinton, and Jamaal Lascelles have stopped the North East outfit from getting back on track.
Howe has now given an honest review of the current state of play when it comes to recovery and returns from injuries during his post-match interview after the humiliating defeat to Forest.
The Newcastle boss revealed that he expects none of his injured players to return in time to face Liverpool at Anfield on Monday:
“The injuries we’ve suffered, I don’t think anyone is coming back in the next few days. We still have players who are finding their fitness from other matches. We’ve not had it easy, and I think that needs to be acknowledged by me more than anything else.”
Who will start for Newcastle against Liverpool?
There is no doubt that Howe will be keen on making a statement at Anfield after such a disappointing display at St James’ Park on Tuesday afternoon, but it won’t be easy with Liverpool in imperious form.
No other team in the Premier League has lost fewer games than the Merseyside giants and they will be up for the challenge against the Magpies as they look to extend their stay at the top of the league table in the turn of the year.
Not only that, Newcastle will face their fierce rivals Sunderland in the FA Cup third round just five days after their trip to the North West and Howe will be conscious of the huge expectations that will come from taking a much-needed victory at the Stadium of Light to not only continue their journey in the competition, but give supporters a huge boost.
Following defeats to Forest and Luton Town, it is highly unlikely that the Newcastle boss will maintain the same style of play and starting line-up so it will be interesting to see how Howe adapts to exploit his upcoming opponents’ strengths.
With that being said, the next few weeks will be tough for the Magpies if there is little opportunity to rotate, so it will be a true test of Howe’s managerial excellence and experience to get the most out of the players at his disposal over the coming fixtures.