Why Liverpool must be particularly cautious to avoid ceding another wing war
After demoralising defeats against the high-pressing systems of Arsenal and Manchester United put Liverpool's much-lauded 3-4-3 formation under scrutiny, Brendan Rodgers will be grateful for a fixture against a deep-lying counter-attacking team. But the second flaw highlighted across these two fixtures – the positional indiscipline of Alberto Moreno – could still be exposed by a side that predominantly attack down the Liverpool wing-back's flank.
Liverpool's fluid formation looked strangely lopsided during their last encounter at the Emirates, when the swarming defensive display from Arsenal's midfielders unsettled Liverpool's back three.
The Gunners' pressing game led to numerous individual errors, opening up pockets of space that wouldn't be exposed in a traditional back four.
Note how many tackles United and Arsenal made high up the pitch, unsettling Liverpool's possession football.
Arsenal's opening goal resulted from Moreno being caught out of position as Mamadou Sakho – moving across to cover – left a gap for Hector Bellerin to drive into. This potential flaw in the full-back position (which also led to both Juan Mata goals the previous weekend) is a cause for concern; when Liverpool's possession is threatened, opposition wingers can pounce upon their defensive indecision.
Moreno struggled to cope with Mata in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United at Anfield.
Newcastle's tactical philosophy, coupled with the skilful wing play of Remy Cabella, could cause further issues in this area of the pitch. John Carver's tactics have been a continuation of the system instigated by Alan Pardew; sitting deep, his forwards are instructed to spring forward with pace on the counter.
With Cabella situated on the right flank, an interesting positional battle with Moreno could develop. The Liverpool player's confidence is likely to have suffered from his individual errors across the last fortnight, and as such the Spaniard will need to show greater caution in venturing forward.
The reverse fixture in November saw Newcastle enjoy just 35% of the possession, sitting deep and awaiting the opportunity to dribble down the wings on the counter.
With Newcastle having won just one away match since November and currently on a four-match losing streak, Carver's main hope will be that Moreno has another disappointing day.