Liverpool face Newcastle in the opening game of a non-stop New Year schedule which sees Premier League games over 6 consecutive days. The Reds sit in 6th, within touching distance of the coveted Champions League places, while Newcastle are trying to rediscover the early season form which saw them go 11 games undefeated in the League.
Liverpool Home Form
Liverpool have won just 3 of their 9 home games. While they can boast that they remain undefeated at Anfield, the 6 draws have certainly hampered their momentum and those dropped points at home represent the main reason why they continue to drift further from the pace-setters at the top of the table.
The Reds have failed to beat Sunderland, Norwich, Swansea and most recently, bottom of the table Blackburn Rovers at home. Despite the performance of Luis Saurez this campaign, Liverpool have bagged just 11 league goals at home, a staggering 17 behind both Manchester clubs, and the lowest total of all the top 8 sides in the Premier League. Match odds of 2 to 1 on look very flattering in the face of some uninspiring statistics.
Newcastle United were the surprise package during the early stages of the season, going 11 games undefeated before being brought back down to earth more recently, when tough fixtures and a growing injury list meant they went 6 games without a win, suffering 4 defeats. This led to a rapid descent down the table.
Against Bolton last time out, the Magpies rediscovered some of their defensive resilience and Demba Ba continued his explosive form, taking his season’s total up to 14 during the 2-0 win. Newcastle have only been beaten twice on the road, and have already held Manchester United to a draw at Old Trafford, as well as beating a Stoke team who pride themselves on making the Britannia Stadium a tough venue to take anything from. 4 Away wins this term illustrate that the Magpies are very capable on their travels.
Liverpool are unbackable at 1.5. Having won 33% of their home games, a price that suggests they will prevail 67% of the time looks out of kilter. A lay of the Reds certainly offers value at those prices. While they deserve favouritism, the inability to break down visiting sides has been evident all season. The 7/1 on the visitors leaving with all 3 points also has value – and while it would be good to have the draw onside with Liverpool undefeated at home, Newcastle (and Demba Ba) are well capable of causing an upset in this one.