This is the predicted Newcastle team v Liverpool for Saturday’s match.
Rafa Benitez revealed on Friday that Jonjo Shelvey wouldn’t be risked as they await results of a scan on his knee, despite the midfielder wanting to play.
The United boss also stating that Islam Slimani won’t play either, as he still hasn’t joined in with full training, instead working with physios in the gym.
However, both Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie are available after injury concerns earlier in the week.
With Slimani injured and Dwight Gayle scoring twice last weekend and looking sharp, it would be a surprise if Gayle doesn’t play that same role.
Ayoze Perez continues to struggle in behind the main striker but until Slimani is fit, options are limited as to who Rafa could play in the two most forward roles.
With a goal against Man Utd and assist v Bournemouth, Ritchie is looking more lively and productive, so will surely continue on the right.
On the left though, I fancy Rafa might make a change.
Kenedy has done well since arriving but last weekend was easily his poorest game so far and I think he may instead be used as an impact sub this time. I would put Murphy into the team but I think Rafa Benitez will go with Christian Atsu.
Shelvey’s absence appears to make it a choice between Isaac Hayden and Mikel Merino to partner Mohamed Diame.
The smart money will be on Merino coming in and helping the team move forward, with surely Hayden and Diame being too defensive.
Dubravka will make his third start for Newcastle with four points from his first three matches, whilst unless there are injuries, the same back four will be set to play again.
They, like the rest of the team, did well until those final 10/15 minutes at Bournemouth and Rafa & Jamaal Lascelles will have them wound up for this one to hopefully ensure no more cheap goals.
A lot of fans would like to see him included but at the same time it may be a question of who he would replace.
The predicted Newcastle team v Liverpool:
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