Liverpool will travel to St James' Park on Saturday evening, hoping to move on from the Luis Suarez - Branislav Ivanovic incident. The Reds face the prospect of finishing a Premier League season behind arch-rivals Everton, who are five points ahead and still in the fight for European football next term. The reverse tie, at Anfield in November, finished 1-1 after Suarez cancelled Yohan Cabaye's first half strike.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 5.30pm BST. Live coverage starts an hour in advance and is available on ESPN and ESPN HD. Watch highlights on Match of the Day on BBC One and BBC One HD at 10.30pm BST.
Alan Pardew's men failed to hold on to an eighth-minute lead against West Brom last weekend. French midfielder Yoann Gouffran gave the Magpies an excellent start at the Hawthorns but the Tyneside club missed a string of chances to extend the lead and claim a valuable three points in the race to avoid relegation. Billy Jones equalised for Steve Clarke's men and both sides had to be content with a point each.
The defeat leaves Newcastle in 16th and precariously close to the drop zone; Wigan are 18th and six points back. The Latics would have played Champions League qualification hopefuls Tottenham at the DW Stadium two hours prior to kick-off here and a shock result there could see Newcastle finish the weekend only three points above the drop zone.
Pardew has only one win in the last five coming into this game; two of those were UEFA Europa League ties against Portuguese club Benfica and Newcastle were beaten 4-2 on aggregate. In the league, Newcastle have won only twice in the last seven and that includes defeats to Wigan and Sunderland.
However, in case Liverpool fans thought they would have an easy ride, Newcastle boast a rather strong home record this season. The Magpies have won nine of their 17 games so far. The fact they've lost seven of the remaining eight suggests it is usually an all-or-nothing approach at home. Newcastle have scored more goals at home than most of the sides in the bottom half of the table but, conversely, have also conceded far too many.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are still smarting from the 10-match ban handed to Suarez. The Uruguayan committed a rather ridiculous assault on Serbian defender Ivanovic last weekend: the former Ajax man bit Ivanovic on his right arm.
Pundits, experts and players have all weighed in since that ghastly incident, as have fans, but the upshot of it all is that the striker has accepted the FA's punishment and begins his suspension effective immediately.
It is a measure of Suarez's dual-sided nature on a football pitch that he was also responsible for a sublime last second header against the Blues that rescued a 2-2 draw for Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool are in poor form in the final weeks of the season, with only one win in the last five games; three of those were draws.
Overall, Liverpool have a mixed record on the road. They've won five and drawn seven of their 17 games and have both scored more goals and conceded more than most teams in the league.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D L D W L
- Last Match: West Bromwich Albion 1 - 1 Newcastle United
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D D D W L
- Last Match:Liverpool 2 - 2 Chelsea
Pardew is without No 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul (shoulder) and Frenchman Sylvain Marveaux (hamstring). Captain and influential defender Fabricio Coloccini (back) has returned to training but has yet to regain match fitness and will probably not play. The good news is Ivorian internationals Papiss Cisse and Cheikh Tiote have recovered and will start.
Probable Line-Up: Elliot; Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Taylor, Haidara; Tiote, Cabaye; Gouffran, Sissoko, Gutierrez; Cisse
Suarez is suspended for the rest of the season and into the first few games of the next as well. This means Italian forward Fabio Borini finally gets a chance to show what he can do. The youngster was signed from AS Roma in the summer but injuries and Suarez's form has meant he has had little chance to shine. Former Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge is likely to start this game though, after a superb cameo against the Blues last weekend.
Probable Line-Up: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Gerrard, Lucas Leiva, Henderson; Downing, Sturridge, Coutinho