Newcastle United will host Liverpool on Saturday and the pressure to perform rests on the shoulders of Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
As soon as some of you read the title of this article you most likely began perceiving me as a crazy person, but hear me out. Obviously, when you are a club that operates on a limited budget like Newcastle United, there is never a good time to face a team chasing the Premier League title. The timing of this match, however, does benefit the Toon more than it benefits Mohamed Salah and company.
Liverpool are the clear favorites to win this game. In fact, calculations from FiveThirtyEight only give Newcastle an eight percent chance of winning on Saturday. The odds being against Newcastle in this game is nothing new, but let me explain why this is the best possible time for the Magpies to host Liverpool at St. James’ Park.
Reason 1: Champions League Fatigue
Unlike Newcastle who have only been preparing for Liverpool this week, the Reds have been busy training for their Champions League clash against Barcelona, which will take place tonight. Preparing for Barcelona is a daunting task that requires intense training, but travelling to Spain for the game, coming back to England, training for three more days and then playing against Newcastle on the road will undoubtedly impact Liverpool.
Reason 2: Pressure to Perform
Saturday’s game against Newcastle is perceived as one of the most important games of the season for Liverpool and their supporters. The last time Liverpool won the league title was back in the 1989-90 campaign, so the pressure is real. Liverpool do not need to play perfect football to defeat Newcastle, but they need to find ways to break the Magpies’ stubborn defense down. The Reds need all three points on Saturday. A draw against Newcastle will, with full certainty, hand Manchester City the title a week early.
Reason 3: Nothing to Lose
Earlier this week, Rafa Benitez said he will not help his former club by taking this game lightly. Instead, the Toon will prepare for this game just like any other. The key thing for Newcastle, though, is that they will go out there and play relaxed football knowing that relegation is no longer a concern. In other words, Newcastle have nothing to lose against Liverpool, and this makes the Magpies a dangerous opponent in front of their home crowd.