Liverpool vs Newcastle preview: Reds aim to maintain lead at top
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Last Updated: 26/12/18 7:12am
Virgil van Dijk has urged Liverpool to maintain their momentum when they host Newcastle on Boxing Day.
The Reds are four points clear at the top of the Premier League after beating Wolves on Friday and then seeing Manchester City lose to Crystal Palace.
Eight of the last nine teams to lead at Christmas have won the league, but Van Dijk said: "There is a long way to go yet.
"It's a position that everyone wants to be in and we are in it at the moment. That's the only thing it is and we need to keep going.
"The next game is Newcastle United on Wednesday and then Arsenal and Manchester City, so it can change but we are not going to think about that. We take it game by game."
Newcastle were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Fulham on Saturday, leaving them five points above the relegation zone.
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Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is set to return after missing the last two matches with a foot injury.
Naby Keita is expected to resume training ahead of the game after sustaining a foot injury and bruised ribs at Wolves on Friday.
Centre-backs Joe Gomez (fractured leg) and Joel Matip (broken collarbone) remain sidelined for another three to four weeks.
Newcastle will be without Ki Sung-yueng after he headed off to the Asian Cup.
Central midfielder Ki was required to meet up with the South Korea squad in Abu Dhabi ahead of next month's tournament by December 26 and with Jonjo Shelvey struggling to shake off a thigh injury, Isaac Hayden could come into contention.
Defender Ciaran Clark missed Saturday's 0-0 draw with Fulham because of an ankle problem, although Federico Fernandez was included among the substitutes after recovering from a calf injury, but keeper Karl Darlow (elbow) is still out.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 22 home games against Newcastle in all competitions (W18 D4), with their last such defeat coming in November 1995 in the League Cup (0-1).
- Newcastle have won just two of their last 10 Premier League games against Liverpool (D4 L4), with both of those victories coming at St. James' Park.
- Since losing their first ever Premier League home game against Newcastle (0-2 in April 1994), Liverpool are unbeaten in each of the 22 such meetings since (W18 D4).
- Liverpool haven't lost a home league game on Boxing Day since 1986-87 (0-1 vs Manchester United), winning eight and drawing three since then.
- Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been directly involved in eight goals in his last nine games against Newcastle in the Premier League (seven goals and one assist).
- Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez is winless in his three away games at Anfield against former club Liverpool (D2 L1), losing 0-2 in this fixture last season.
I watched Newcastle against Fulham, they never looked like scoring in a month of Sundays and they were playing against the worst defence in the world! So this would be the biggest shock of the season if they won here. Newcastle will defend for so long, but then it will not be enough.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0 (11/2 with Sky Bet)