There’s no rest for the wicked as Liverpool dive straight back into Premier League action in their title chase with a trip to Newcastle this lunchtime.
The Reds took a big step towards the final of the Champions League by beating Villarreal 2-0 in the first leg of their semi on Wednesday and now have the chance to climb to the top of the table, at least until Manchester City play Leeds later on this evening.
There was more good news for Liverpool on Thursday, with news that Jurgen Klopp has signed a new contract to keep him at the club until 2026, having previously suggested he would walk away two years before that.
Newcastle have been enjoying a terrific time of it themselves, with the fears of relegation that dogged the first half of their campaign long since banished and Eddie Howe’s men have won six home games on the spin.
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Three changes for Newcastle
Eddie Howe has also had a tinker with his side, though not quite to the same extent as Jurgen Klopp.
Fabian Schar, Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron all come back in having been benched for the win over Norwich, with Jamaal Lascelles, Sean Longstaff and Jacob Murphy making way.
Five changes for Liverpool
So, Jurgen Klopp has shuffled his pack in a big way with five changes from the side that started the midweek win over Villarreal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Mo Salah all drop to the bench.
Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, James Milner, Naby Keita and Diogo Jota come in.
Liverpool team news
Liverpool XI: Alisson, Gomez, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Milner, Henderson, Keita, Jota, Mane, Diaz.
Subs: Fabinho, Konate, Thiago, Salah, Jones, Tsimikas, Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Elliott.
Newcastle team news
Newcastle XI: Dubravka, Krafth, Schar, Burn, Targett, Bruno Guimaraes, Shelvey, Willock, Almiron, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin.
Subs: Dummett, Lascelles, Ritchie, Manquillo, Wood, Murphy, Darlow, Gayle, Longstaff.
We should have all the confirmed team news in around ten minutes’ time…
Salah named Footballer of the Year
That wasn’t all the good news done either, because yesterday Liverpool forward Mo Salah was named Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association for the second time.
Chelsea striker Sam Kerr won the women’s award.
Klopp signs new deal
It’s been a terrific week already for Liverpool with that win over Villarreal on Wednesday night and then, the following day, news confirmed that Jurgen Klopp has signed a new contract.
The German has previously said he would walk away in 2024 at the end of his existing deal but has now committed until 2026.
Explaining his decision to reverse plans to step away in two year’s time, Klopp told the club website: “Like any healthy relationship, it always has to be a two-way street; you have to be right for each other. The feeling we were absolutely right for each other is what brought me here in the first place and it’s why I’ve extended previously.
“This one is different because of the length of time we have been together. I had to ask myself the question: Is it right for Liverpool that I stay longer?
“Along with my two assistant managers, Pep Lijnders and Pete Krawietz, we came to the conclusion it was a ‘Yes!’
“There is a freshness about us as a club still and this energises me. For as long as I have been here, our owners have been unbelievably committed and energetic about this club and it is clear that right now this applies to our future as much as I’ve ever known.”
Premier League only.
Newcastle wins: 11
Liverpool wins: 30
Standard Sport prediction
Given Newcastle’s home form and the tight turnaround from Villarreal, you could make a case for this being Liverpool’s toughest assignment in the run-in.
They may well have to grind it out, but should have too much.
Liverpool to win 2-1.
Newcastle team news
The likes of Kieran Trippier, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser are among the continued absentees for Newcastle, but Miguel Almiron, Fabian Schar and Jonjo Shelvey will all be pushing to return after being left on the bench at Norwich.