Newcastle United host Liverpool in the Premier League on Wednesday in a 8pm kick-off at St James’ Park.
The visitors are looking to restore their lead at the top of the table to five points after Sunday’s hugely disappointing 1-1 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion.
Steve Bruce’s side are without a win in their last three league games, and will be starting to look over their shoulders having dropped to 15th in the table.
Liverpool are 2/7 to bounce back with a victory, with the draw 5/1 and a Newcastle win 17/2.
It’s always hard to extract value from these one-sided encounters to be honest, especially when it comes to Liverpool this season as their relentless consistency of recent seasons isn’t quite there at the moment, so I’m going to keep our Bet Builder simple.
Paul Tierney officiates the clash at St James’ Park, with the 40-year-old’s card average shooting up behind closed doors.
Tierney has shown both sides at least one card each in 15 of his last 19 PL matches, and in seven of his nine in charge this season. Six of those seven matches also saw both teams pick up two or more cards each.
However, given that Liverpool have not been shown a card in any of their last three matches, I’m loathe to back them to do so in a match they could conceivably dominate quite easily. Instead, I’m going to back Newcastle to pick up two or more.
Bruce’s side have done so in 10 of their 14 PL matches this season, with Liverpool’s opponents picking up two or more in 10 of their 15 PL matches, while Tierney has shown the home side two or more cards in eight of his nine games this season, including three red cards (one of which was Andreas Christensen against Liverpool).
To bring our Bet Builder above evens, I’ll simply back Liverpool to score, which they have impressively done in every PL match this season. Newcastle have kept only two clean sheets, neither of which were at home.
If you’re looking for a bigger price, Liverpool to win, 2+ Newcastle cards, 1+ Liverpool card, 7+ Liverpool corners and 3+ Newcastle corners is 10/1.
Liverpool’s last seven PL matches have seen both teams earn 3+ corners, with seven of Newcastle’s last eight matches also seeing this mark for both teams land. Eight of Newcastle’s 14 opponents this season have hit 7+ corners, meanwhile, with Liverpool reaching this mark in nine of their 15 matches.
While Liverpool have only received 1+ card in just over half of their matches (8 of 15), Newcastle’s opponents have picked up one in 12 of their 14 matches, with Man City picking up two against them on Boxing Day. As mentioned, we have a good ref for cards, too.
In terms of player cards, Isaac Hayden, Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez would be the Newcastle players I’d have my eye on when the team news is released.
The tough-tackling Hayden has been booked four times in nine starts this season and is one caution away from a one-match ban accordingly, with around a dozen central midfielders being booked against Liverpool this season.
Schar or Fernandez could start to the right of a back three, meanwhile, which likely means coming up against Sadio Mane, one of the most fouled players in the league this season. Neither defender are a stranger to the referee’s book, with Schar booked against Man City on Boxing Day.
It was Fernandez who started to the right against Man City, though, so I’d marginally side with him at 10/3 (Sky Bet). He made four tackles against Pep Guardiola’s side, and is 11/8 to make 3+ here.
For Liverpool, I’m surprised to see James Milner priced at 5/1 across the board. It’s rumoured that he could come in for Andy Robertson at left-back, a position Milner has previously admitted he does not enjoy playing. He always loves to get stuck in and isn’t shy of bringing someone down cynically.
Elsewhere, I think 5/6 for Callum Wilson to have a shot on target is a fantastic price (Betfair). The England international has landed this in eight of his 12 PL starts this season, and he received a rest against Man City on Boxing Day so should be raring to go.
We know how high Liverpool’s line generally is, but without the injured Joel Matip alongside Fabinho it does not function as well. If Kharlan Grant can get some joy out of it then Wilson definitely can, with 9/2 for him to have 2+ shots on target possibly worth a poke, too.