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Liverpool team vs Leicester predicted as Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota in but Darwin Núñez out



Liverpool team vs Leicester predicted as Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota in but Darwin Núñez out

Liverpool knows that nothing less than a win will be enough to keep its pursuit of the top four spots alive, but that will not be an easy task against a Leicester City side in dire need of a result.

The lowest-ranked team in the division that is not mathematically relegated yet, Leicester could climb above both Leeds United and Everton with a win, and has a better goal difference than both of those teams.

Liverpool, though, needs to not only win but get the three points and rack up some goals in a bid to get its own goal difference closer to that of Newcastle in case of a tie on points.

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Liverpool is currently seven behind on the goal difference score compared to Newcastle (but is comfortably ahead of Manchester United already). Leicester and Southampton are the fixtures in which it is more likely to close that gap considering the other game is against high-flying Aston Villa.

These are the teams that some of our writers would select for the game at the King Power Stadium.

Matt Addison – Keep Gakpo in the deeper role

After a nine-day gap, and with five more days until Aston Villa, this is about going full tilt. That makes the back five, including Alisson, pretty easy to work out for me, assuming there are no last-minute injuries.

In front of the first-choice goalkeeper and defense, I’m going with Curtis Jones again, while Fabinho is a certainty as the holding player. Jordan Henderson is the obvious choice as the third midfielder, and there is an argument for going more attacking with Harvey Elliott, but I’m going with Cody Gakpo, who was deployed there against Brentford.

Up top, Luis Díaz and Mohamed Salah will be on the flanks with Diogo Jota able to play as the number nine thanks to Gakpo being further back, with Darwin Núñez then the forward option to bring off the bench.

My starting XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Gakpo, Jones; Salah, Jota, Díaz

Predicted scoreline: 3-1 to Liverpool.

One thing to watch:Whether Núñez can make more of an impact off the bench than he has lately.

Tom Beattie – Underrated captain should return to XI

Playing just one game a week at this stage of the season does feel a little strange in some respects, particularly after the quadruple tilt last year. In some ways, Liverpool’s squad is not really made for just fighting on a single front and so the final few weeks of the season may be a tad frustrating for some players, given the quality throughout Jürgen Klopp’s squad.

However, with the Reds still mathematically in with a chance of qualifying for the Champions League this term, the team’s work is far from done this season. Leicester City is fighting for its life at the foot of the table and it will certainly not give up without a fight as the two teams face-off at the King Power Stadium.

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This considered, I would expect Klopp to simply go with his strongest side in terms of both quality and fitness. I would stay with the first-choice back four that faced Brentford over a week ago and also return Jordan Henderson to the side, with the captain better equipped to protect Trent Alexander-Arnold in his adapted role than the likes of Gakpo and Harvey Elliott have done in previous weeks.

I would instead return Gakpo to the ‘false nine’ position with Jota moving out to the left, meaning Núñez— who I felt was ineffective against Brentford — will drop to the bench. Díaz may have to also contend with a role as an impact substitute as he continues his return to full fitness.

My starting XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Jones; Salah, Gakpo, Jota

Predicted scoreline: 3-2 to Liverpool.

One thing to watch: Liverpool to weather a spirited performance from Leicester.

Ben Bocsak – Strongest XI

With a nine-day rest, I don’t expect Klopp to make too many changes.

At the back, I expect the same back four that started against Brentford with Alexander-Arnold keeping his new role and shifting into the midfield when in possession of the ball.

In midfield, I think Klopp will line up more conservatively than against Brentford considering Liverpool is playing away from home. That means the captain should return to his midfield role with Jota dropping out of the attack. Henderson’s experience will be vital in a must-win game for Liverpool while Fabinho and Jones keep their place as both have been in form.

Up top, I’m bringing Díaz in who should be fresh after a bit of a rest not starting against Brentford in place of Núñez, simply because I think Gakpo just works a bit better for Klopp’s system at the moment, and I think having Núñez come off the bench could hurt Leicester later on in the game.

My starting XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Jones; Salah, Gakpo, Díaz

Predicted scoreline: 5-3 to Liverpool.

One thing to watch: Mohamed Salah to score a hat-trick.


The stunning Newcastle United stat to give fans hope for Champions League v Man United &…

Newcastle United sit third in the Premier League table heading into their final three matches of the season.

At one stage, Newcastle could almost taste Champions League football but after dropping points against Arsenal and Leeds United, Eddie Howe’s side face a nervous end to the campaign as they look to secure a top four finish. Manchester United are behind them on goal difference while Liverpool are also closing in.

Liverpool currently sit four points outside the top four but face Leicester City away on Monday night. A win for Liverpool means Newcastle would qualify for the Champions League should they pick up another two wins in their remaining three games.

A draw for Liverpool would likely mean just one more win for Newcastle providing they can maintain their superior goal difference. A defeat for Liverpool at the King Power Stadium means Newcastle could secure Champions League football as early as Thursday night, providing they beat Brighton & Hove Albion (7:30pm kick-off).

While Newcastle’s recent 2-0 defeat to Arsenal and 2-2 draw at Leeds has made things slightly more nervous for Eddie Howe’s side, their remaining matches at home to Brighton, Leicester City and away to Chelsea leave plenty to be optimistic about.

Newcastle’s two remaining matches at St James’ Park are evening kick-offs. Eddie Howe has taken charge of 11 matches under the lights as United boss and is yet to lose.

After drawing his first two, Howe has won each of his last nine evening matches at St James’ Park. While football is often unpredictable, Newcastle’s evening form certainly provides plenty of hope they can secure a top four finish.

Here’s a look at Newcastle’s previous evening kick-offs at St James’ Park under Eddie Howe…

1. Newcastle United 1-1 Norwich City

A crucial relegation battle match at St James’ Park was Eddie Howe’s first in the home dugout as his side looked to pick up a first win of the season. An early red card for Ciaran Clark made things more difficult but Newcastle were still able to take the lead from the penalty spot as Callum Wilson converted. The Magpies were denied three points by a late Teemu Pukki strike.

2. Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester United

A promising performance at St James’ Park saw Newcastle take the lead through Allan Saint-Maximin before substitute Edinson Cavani equalised for Manchester United.

3. Newcastle United 3-1 Everton

The night that marked the start of ‘Kieran Trippier, over the wall’. The Magpies moved out of the relegation zone with an impressive comeback win over Everton after going behind to a Jamaal Lascelles own goal. A minute later, Mason Holgate put the ball into his own net to level things up before Ryan Fraser gave Newcastle a second half lead and Trippier wrapped up the win with a stunning late free-kick. Photo: Stu Forster

4. Newcastle United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Chris Wood scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the second half as Newcastle moved another step closer to safety. Photo: Stu Forster

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