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Preview: Newcastle United v Liverpool

By Dan King

When Newcastle and Liverpool meet in the Barclays Premier League, you can normally guarantee a thrilling game and plenty of goals. The latest clash between the two promises to be no different - although there's little doubt United's new manager Alan Pardew would be delighted with a dour 1-0 win.

Pardew himself has history against the men from Merseyside - he led his West Ham team to the 2006 FA Cup final and, in one of the best finals for many years, was seconds away from lifting the famous trophy before Steven Gerrard scored an injury-time leveller to force a 3-3 draw. Liverpool won on penalties.

This will be the 160th time the two clubs have faced each other in all competitions. Liverpool have won 76 of them, United 45 and there have been 38 draws. But at St. James' Park, Newcastle do in fact shade it - 33 wins to Liverpool's 23.

Liverpool have won each of the last four games between the two sides - three of them with 3-0 scorelines, the other 5-1 at Gallowgate. The last time Newcastle beat the Reds was in 2006/07; Oba Martins and a Nobby Solano penalty cancelled out an early goal from former Magpie Craig Bellamy at St. James'.

Recent history does favour Liverpool, but it is arguable that they are not quite such a formidable prospect right now as they once were. It's something of a transitional period for the Reds under the man they appointed in the summer, Roy Hodgson, and their new American owners who recently replaced their old American owners. They currently sit eighth.

They are expected to be without the talismanic Gerrard, while Jamie Carragher is out for months and fellow defender Daniel Agger is also missing. However, after missing the 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Monday as his wife was giving birth, Fernando Torres is likely to play.

Pardew has confirmed that he will pick the Newcastle team, with input from Steve Stone and former United and Liverpool legend Peter Beardsley, so it will be interesting to see the squad he selects.

He won't be able to call upon Fabricio Coloccini or Mike Williamson, who both serve the final match of their three-game suspensions. Danny Guthrie is also doubtful after being injured at West Brom last week.

Captain Kevin Nolan has missed the last two games through injury, but will hope to play against his boyhood side, while fellow Scouser Joey Barton has returned to training this week. He hasn't played in the last four games after serving a suspension and then picking up an injury ahead of the Hawthorns defeat.

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