To say Liverpool are favourites to beat Newcastle on Saturday is a bit like saying Kylian Mbappe is favourite to win a foot-race against Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
On paper, it’s a bit of a mismatch, and while it would be nice to say a deep dive into the stats gives the Magpies some hope of coming up with the upset to end all upsets…they don’t. Simply put, if you’re a Newcastle fan, it would be advisable to read no further.
Still with us? Oh well, here we go.
You have to go back to April 1994 for the last time Newcastle conquered the Reds at Anfield in the league, with a 2-0 victory that saw Rob Lee and Andy Cole find the net. Since then, Liverpool are unbeaten in 23 home league games (W19 D4), scoring in every single one of those matches (58 goals), while keeping 12 clean sheets.
On the subject of goals, they’ve scored a mind-bending 98 in the Premier League against Saturday’s opponents, and could become only the third team to score 100+ against a single opponent in the competition (Arsenal 107 v Everton, Manchester United 100 v Everton). Two goals would seem them become first to do so against a side who hasn’t been ever-present
Incidentally, only against Manchester United between 1973 and 2012 (29 games) have Newcastle had a longer winless run away from home in the top-flight (Premier League or First Division) than their current run of 23 games without a win against Liverpool.
That run of course stems back to the heady days of Roy Evans at Anfield, while Newcastle were at their peak under Kevin Keegan. But if their historical head to head is enough to stack the odds, then a glimpse into the home side’s current form really drives the point home.
Liverpool are looking to become only the fourth team to win 14 consecutive English top-flight matches, after Arsenal (14, August 2002), Man City (15, August 2019) and Man City again (18, December 2017). They have scored more than two goals in each of the 13 games on that run so far, so a win by two or more would see them earn the distinction of winning 14 on the bounce without ever scoring less than two.
Newcastle, in contrast, are at one of the lower ebbs in their history, with Mike Ashley’s ownership a huge bone of contention for fans – particularly after replacing Rafa Benitez with Steve Bruce.
But it might just be their new boss that gives them a fleeting hope of picking something up here, as his record against the Anfield side is something to envy.
Bruce has lost just four of his last 17 Premier League meetings with Liverpool (W5 D8 L4), winning his most recent game against the Reds in April 2015 with Hull City.
It should be noted, however, that in the four years since, Liverpool have gone from strength to strength to become one of the favourites for the league title – and go into this one on top of the table after four matches.
And while the Magpies may be on a decent run of three wins from their last five away from home – the last coming admirably at Tottenham – the last time they won at the ground of the league leaders in the top flight was 1972, against Brian Clough’s Derby. Since then, it’s 27 matches, five draws and 22 defeats.
So yeah, in summary, Newcastle have very rarely if ever faced worse odds than this one, while history, form and virtually every other consideration deems Liverpool the overwhelming favourite.
Stick-on for a draw.