Newcastle United welcome Liverpool to St James’ Park on Sunday as their 2019/20 Premier League campaign draws to a close.
Magpies boss Steve Bruce achieved what he set out to do at the start of the season: to keep Newcastle in the Premier League.
In fact, he did it with plenty of games to spare but he will be concerned that his side are without a win in their last five league games and are ending the season with a whimper.
Bruce will want a response from his players in the final game of his first season in charge of the club. The problem is they are facing the newly crowned Premier League champions Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s side received the Premier League trophy on Wednesday evening after their 5-3 win over Chelsea at Anfield and they will look to sign off with a win that will take them to 99 points.
So will Newcastle end on a high? Or will Liverpool have too much for them? Here’s how the pundits think the action will unfold.
Lawrenson wrote in his BBC Sport column:
“Newcastle have not won for a while now and have taken only two points from their past five games.
“I don’t see their fortunes changing here, although it will help them if Reds boss Jurgen Klopp makes some changes.
“Klopp is entitled to play whoever he wants in this one because his side’s work is done and the outcome does not affect any issues at the top or bottom of the table.
“He picked his regulars when they beat Chelsea before collecting the Premier League trophy on Wednesday, so I would not be surprised if he rests a few at St James’ Park.
“Klopp gets my manager of the year award, not just because he has won the league, but because of the way he won it after what happened last season – when they lost out by a point. To win the title with seven games to go was a fabulous achievement.”
Lawro’s prediction: Newcastle 0-2 Liverpool
The Sky Sports pundit wrote in his predictions column:
“I watched Liverpool on Wednesday, Newcastle are probably better defensively than Chelsea though! I think what we’ll get this weekend from Liverpool is a lot of changes this weekend. I think the boys are probably having a good celebration after lifting the Premier League trophy, and I’m convinced Jurgen Klopp will give some of the kids a game.
“Newcastle have had a very good season, and I’ve enjoyed the lack of tension about relegation, but they’ve got too many injuries to be relied upon – I can see an open game of football here though.”
Nicholas’ prediction: Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool
The former Newcastle forward wrote in his predictions column for Bet Victor:
For some time now, Newcastle have been aware that a mid-table position was the best they could expect and credit to Steve Bruce and his team for getting United to a point of safety some months ago.
Liverpool played on Wednesday in a thrilling match against Chelsea at Anfield after which they finally lifted the Premier League trophy.
Judging from Jurgen Klopp’s demeanour on the side of the pitch, he won’t be expecting anything less than another flat-out performance at St James’ Park and I expect the Reds to round off their incredible season with yet another win.
Owen’s prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Liverpool