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Newcastle United-Liverpool Preview

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is glad he can switch focus back to matters on the field against Newcastle United amid the ongoing fallout from the failed European Super League.

The Reds were one of 12 clubs to sign up to the breakaway competition, which collapsed 48 hours after its launch in the face of widespread criticism.

Klopp's side were perhaps distracted by off-the-field protests as they were held 1-1 by Leeds United on Monday at a time when all the talk was on the controversial new league.

That leaves Liverpool two points off the top four with six games left, each of which will be a "cup final" in the view of Klopp as his side chase down a Champions League qualification spot.

"We have to offer a proper, proper fight against Newcastle," he said. "We have to create, we have to score and we have to defend. We only have massively important games left. There are six cup finals and we have to win them all.

"It was really tough at Leeds. We were thrown into (the controversy) and we had no idea what was going on. We had our own opinion but I would not say we only drew at Leeds because of that. Now we can try to concentrate fully on football again."

Newcastle have moved eight points clear of the relegation zone with a game in hand thanks to back-to-back wins over Burnley and West Ham.

The visitors have been given a big fitness boost ahead of Saturday's game at Anfield, too, as attacking duo Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin are part of their squad.

Saint-Maximin was forced off with an ankle injury last week, while Wilson - who has also spent a stretch on the sidelines this term - was not pictured in training on Thursday.

"Allan is OK. It was a kick to his ankle. He will always take a few whacks," manager Steve Bruce said. "It was normal for Callum - he always takes it easy on a Thursday. But he's also OK.

"We're going to have to play well. We've had a decent couple of weeks, and 35 points isn't going to be enough so we've got to desperately try to get something. Liverpool had a difficult season for their standards over the last couple, but there have been signs of Liverpool of old in recent weeks."

KEY PLAYERS

Liverpool - Trent Alexander-Arnold

The left-back has a goal and two assists in Liverpool's last three Premier League games, which is as many goal involvements as he managed in his previous 24 in the competition.

By contributing to a goal in four successive league games for the first time since between April and August 2019, Alexander-Arnold will send out another clear message to Gareth Southgate following his recent England snub.

Newcastle United - Joe Willock

Arsenal loanee Willock has scored three goals in nine Premier League appearances for Newcastle, compared to just one in 40 top-flight outings for his parent club.

Willock's three goals have been worth five points to Newcastle - only Wilson's goals have been more valuable to United this term (nine points).

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 24 home league games against Newcastle (W20 D4) since a 2-0 loss in April 1994.

- Newcastle's goalless draw against Liverpool in the reverse fixture ended a run of five straight defeats against the Reds. However, the Magpies remain winless in their last eight league meetings with Liverpool (D3 L5) since a 2-0 home win in December 2015.

- There have been 3.12 goals-per-game in Premier League meetings between Liverpool and Newcastle (159 goals in 51 games) - the highest ratio of any of the 31 fixtures to have been played at least 50 times in the competition.

- Newcastle have won just one of their 25 Premier League away games against reigning champions (D7 L17), losing the last five in a row by an aggregate score of 20-3 since beating Manchester United 1-0 in December 2013.

- Liverpool have dropped 13 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, which is two more than they had across the last two campaigns combined (six in 2018-19, five in 2019-20).