Premier League Preview: Newcastle United v Liverpool
By Football News
High-flying Liverpool make the trip to Newcastle United on Saturday aiming to make it three Premier League wins in a row.
Brendan Rodgers' side head to St James' Park in second place, and level on points with leaders Arsenal, after winning five of their first seven top flight games.
With their match kicking off before Arsenal's clash against Norwich City, the Anfield club will return to top spot if they avoid defeat, even if only for a few hours.
Liverpool triumphed 3-1 at Sunderland in their last away game and will be aiming for a repeat performance in their latest visit to the North East.
The Merseyside club have fond memories of their trip to Newcastle last season, when they hammered Alan Pardew's side 6-0.
Daniel Sturridge scored twice on that occasion and the striker has been prolific so far this season, scoring nine times including a goal for England in their FIFA World Cup qualifier against Montenegro last Friday.
Sturridge will be on a high after helping his country qualify for next year's tournament in Brazil and his strike partner Luis Suarez has wasted no time in finding his feet after his suspension, scoring three goals in two Premier League games.
Rodgers rates the squad that will make the journey north as the best he has been able to name this season, with Glen Johnson, Joe Allen and Aly Cissokho all returning from injury and Lucas Leiva available after serving a suspension.
Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho is not ready to make his comeback from a shoulder injury, but Rodgers is delighted with the options at his disposal.
"We'll arrive with our strongest squad of the season against Newcastle United," he said. "They haven't been playing games but they've been training for the last few weeks,
"Glen Johnson will be back, Joe Allen will be back, Aly Cissokho will be back. As I said, it will be out strongest available squad this season."
When asked about the possibility of Coutinho featuring against Pardew's side, Rodgers said: "No. He's working with the physiologist on the field and he's looking very good.
"But he's still not strong enough to return to training."
Newcastle will be targeting their second home win of the season in the top flight.
The Tyneside outfit moved up to 11th place with a 2-1 win at Cardiff City before the international break and will be eager to build on that win.
On-loan striker Loic Remy has shown why Pardew was so keen to sign him by scoring five goals in his last three Premier League games, including a match-winning double at Cardiff.
Pardew will be without injured skipper Fabricio Coloccini (groin) and winger Jonas Gutierrez (personal reasons).