The Hard Tackle lists three players who can have a positive impact on the proceedings when Liverpool and Newcastle United clash on Monday.

Liverpool can create a three-point lead atop the Premier League table when they welcome Newcastle United to Anfield on Monday night. On the other hand, the away side can climb two places to seventh in the standings with a victory.

The Reds have done well to bounce back from a run of three winless results in four games. The win over Burnley on Boxing Day, coupled with Arsenal’s two defeats this past week, has helped Liverpool regain the top spot in the Premier League. They can now stretch their lead at the summit on Monday.

As for Newcastle United, Eddie Howe’s men have blown hot and cold this season, struggling to hit the heights of the 2023/24 campaign. But things have gone from bad to worse in the past month, with the Magpies winning just one of their last seven games across all competitions. Most defeats have come in the Premier League, dropping them to ninth in the standings.

So, a victory is of utmost importance for Newcastle United as they drift further behind the European qualification chasers. But Liverpool cannot take the Magpies lightly, with Manchester City regaining form in the last few weeks. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Bruno Guimaraes

The biggest reason for Newcastle United’s advent in the 2022/23 season was the Midas Touch of Bruno Guimaraes. The Brazilian international took no time to establish himself as a talismanic figure for the Tyneside outfit.

He controlled the proceedings in the middle of the park, enabling Newcastle United to neutralise the opposition and bully them into submission. But Bruno Guimaraes has epitomised the Magpies’ struggles in the 2023/24 campaign.

The 26-year-old has not been at his best this season, even though high-profile clubs continue to chase him. His big-name suitors include Barcelona and Real Madrid, with Liverpool also showing interest in him. But Guimaraes needs to step up to help Newcastle United hit the heights of last term.

If the Brazilian midfielder rises to the occasion, Liverpool will struggle to release Mohamed Salah, thus blunting the hosts offensive threat. If not, the Reds will make merry in the middle of the park, with Dominik Szoboszlai running riot.

Diogo Jota

As iterated earlier, Newcastle United can contain the threat of the Liverpool attack by neutralising Mohamed Salah on Monday. But one player might still have the key to unlocking the away side’s defence this week. We are talking about Diogo Jota.

No one can refute that Salah has carried the Liverpool attack this season, and the Reds can suffer in his absence during the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations. But Jota might be the answer to Liverpool’s (minus Salah) inconsistencies in the final third.

The Portuguese international is Liverpool’s second-highest scorer this season despite missing several games due to his fitness issues. Furthermore, Jota has the best minutes per goal ratio among Liverpool players this term, better than even Salah.

Jota also has the best goal conversion and the second-best shot accuracy among all Liverpool attackers, with Salah only marginally ahead on the second count. So, the 27-year-old will be crucial for Liverpool in the final third as they look for non-Salah solutions to solving the offensive woes.

Anthony Gordon

Our list ends with another attacker. As is often the case, we have picked a second player from the club with the lower odds of emerging as the victors in the game. But Callum Wilson or Alexander Isak do not make the cut, with Anthony Gordon instead emerging as the third candidate.

The English international enjoyed an excellent first half of the 2023/24 season, rising to the occasion as Wilson and Isak battled fitness issues. But Gordon has gone off the boil, with Eddie Howe’s inability to rotate or rest him burning him out in the last few weeks.

Gordon has been ever-present in the final third for Newcastle United this season, playing throughout the matches due to the Magpies’ injury crisis. That has impacted the young attacker, who has been running on fumes in the last few weeks.

But he has the qualities to trouble any defence with his directness and eye for a pass. With Wilson and Isak likely to feature from the get-go, the onus will be on Gordon to pull the strings in the final third and release the Newcastle United strikers against a vulnerable Liverpool backline.

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