Next week will be a big one for Liverpool, they play Real Madrid on Tuesday at the Bernabeu, then against Premier League leaders Chelsea on Saturday. As such, Brendan Rodgers may decide to rest many of his most important players this weekend against Newcastle. Alan Pardew and Newcastle have won their last two games, but those two are the only ones they have won this season. The 4-2-3-1 has been the team’s most used formation this season, but Rodgers has been using the 4-3-3 more often as of late. The formation encourages movement and it stretches the opponent’s defense.
Simon Mignolet was rested against Swansea and hopefully the time off will help him concentrate more for the games that are coming up. Mignolet should be encouraged by the fact that, Newcastle have only scored 10 goals this season and 4 of them have been scored by Papiss Cisse who is surprisingly, not a regular starter.
Rodgers may decide to play Glen Johnson over Javier Manquillo if he plans on using the Spaniard against Real Madrid. Johnson was terrible against Ronaldo in the last match and Manquillo does have some experience against Cristiano Ronaldo and company since he played for Atletico Madrid last season.
The duo of Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren are likely to start this game since Mamadou Sakho is still out with a thigh injury. Rodgers could start Kolo Toure to rest one of Skrtel or Lovren but the team cannot afford to concede more goals than they already have. Ideally, the team scores one or more in the first 45 minutes, allowing Rodgers to bring on Toure at the half with the players concentrating on defending.
Jose Enrique has not played that often this year but he should be able to hold his own against Daryl Janmaat and Remy Cabella. Alberto Moreno will be an key player against Madrid, he is a valuable attacking outlet out on the left and he is capable of pinning either Dani Carvajal or Alvaro Arbeloa back.
A midfield of Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen and Emre Can should allow the team to control possession and the pace of the game. Jordan Henderson played the full 90 against Swansea and he should be rested in order for him to be 100% next week. If Rodgers decides to rest either Gerrard or Allen, Lucas Leiva could make his second start of the week. The Brazilian has spent most of the season on the bench but he always plays with heart when he is out on the field.
A forward line of Philippe Coutinho, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana is more than enough to break through the Newcastle defense. Coutinho’s recent form has been strong and as such he could be saved for Madrid, but playing Lazar Markovic instead could result in too many new faces in the lineup, disturbing the flow and chemistry of the team. However, chemistry is not something Lambert and Lallana should be worrying about, they played great together during their time in Southampton.