Game of the Weekend: Liverpool vs. Newcastle United

Liverpool host Newcastle United at Anfield on the back of another disappointing home draw against Blackburn Rovers. The Magpies, on the other hand, managed to finally get another win for three points as they sit a point behind the sixth-placed Reds in seventh.

With Luis Suarez now banned for the match thanks to the FA ruling over his gesture to Fulham fans on December 5th, and the playmaker’s possible suspension for eight games the elephant in the corner, Kenny Dalglish is likely to start Andy Carroll once again as the big Geordie continues to struggle at finding his form.

Steven Gerrard returned for the Reds in a second-half cameo but is still expected to start from the bench once again. However, the captain could be recalled along with Craig Bellamy for the match to try and add attacking flair to the side in the absence of Suarez.

The big talking point will be Andy Carroll facing his old team. This time last season, he had 11 goals for Newcastle, but a top ten all-time transfer fee of exorbitant proportions and a nagging knee injury has seen the year of 2011 become one he will want to put behind him. Maybe, just maybe, Carroll can end the season on a high before he gets to turn the page for 2012.

There are also the rumours of Liverpool looking to take Cheik Tiote in the January transfer window, adding a bit more intrigue to the game.

Match Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 1 Newcastle

Predicted Liverpool Starting XI: Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique, Maxi Rodriguez, Charlie Adam, Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing, Craig Bellamy, Andy Carroll

Predicted Newcastle United Starting XI: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, James Perch, Fabricio Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez, Shola Ameobi, Demba Ba

Players to Watch: Andy Carroll and Demba Ba

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