Welcome Back - Liverpool v Newcastle Preview

Alex Livesey

Now the international break has come and gone, it's time to get back to the football that pays the bills.

US: 7:45 am ET NBC Sports

UK: 12:45 on BT Sport 1

Liverpool travel to Sports Direct St. James Park for a clash with Nouveaux Chateau. Liverpool will be looking to extend their fantastic start to the campaign while Newcastle will be looking to make it three in a row in the Premier League. The last time they played, Liverpool destroyed Newcastle in a 6-0 spanking that likely will still be fresh in the minds of the Geordies. They currently sit 11th in the table, but this year no one can be over looked.

Liverpool should be bolstered by the return of Johnson, Allen and Cissokho. Coutinho still appears to be not quite ready and when it comes to him it is definitely a case of better safe than sorry. In addition, Lucas returns after serving his suspension for picking up five yellows. Brendan Rodgers has declared this, "...the strongest squad I've had since the beginning of the season." In fact, the only casualty from the international break appears to be Aspas who tore a thigh muscle in training.

For Newcastle they will be missing Coloccini and possibly Steven Taylor. This should leave them a bit more vulnerable to SAS. In addition, Remy might still be hurting a bit from crashing his Audi R8, but it will probably only be his ego that is still smarting.

Either way, this should be a winable game for Liverpool if the international break didn't completely kill their momentum.

What we'll be looking for:

-Can Stevie get his 100th? Probably not if he continues to be played in his deeper role. With Allen back, I would love to see him pushed up behind SAS in Coutinho's spot. (Adam)

-The other interesting game is United v Southampton. Southampton are playing extremely well. United could be ripe for the picking given the current turmoil at the squad and lack of production from RvP (Adam)

-With Johnson back, will BR continue to go with the 3-5-2 and put him in as a wing back? It would suit him well, but he may not be quite up to the task after a month off. (Adam)

-As Adam alluded to above, the biggest question for me is whether we continue with the 3-5-2. With Johnson and Cissokho back in the frame, we now have these things called "full backs" which we've been missing for quite a little while. (Matt)

-Building on the above, I actually think the 3-5-2 suits our current personnel. Moses has been very hit or miss and Sterling has not shown he is deserving of starter minutes. That leaves our wingers as our attacking weak point (Jesus, I could have written that for the past decade it seems). (Matt)

-Gonna float something crazy out there and see if it sticks: if no 3-5-2, what about a diamond in midfield? Let's us put Lucas, Hendo, Gerrard, and Allen on the field at once, keep the Sturridge-Suarez partnership intact, and maybe see the Captain given more freedom further upfield (though Allen's been making some noise about playing that role as well). (Matt)

-Football is finally back. I'm expecting a good performance from Liverpool, which in previous years has meant a disappointing draw or defeat. So this is another test of whether this year is different.

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