What a week it has been for Liverpool. All the talk last weekend should have been about a thrilling 2-2 draw with Chelsea and the impact made by half-time substitute Daniel Sturridge against his former club, but of course it’s all been about Luis Suarez and that bite.
The Uruguayan has since been given a ten-game ban for the horrendous incident and will miss the rest of the season, depriving Liverpool of by far their greatest attacking threat.
With him missing it could give the Reds’ opponents this weekend, Newcastle United, just the impetus they need to turn around their shaky recent form and grab three vital points in their fight for safety.
Alan Pardew’s side have won once in the last five games and were trounced 3-0 at home by bitter rivals Sunderland last time out to leave them just six points above the drop zone, with 18th-placed Wigan having a game in hand.
With two away games to come next and Arsenal at home on the last day, the Magpies will need something from this game if they are to avoid dropping back into the Championship just three years after winning promotion.
The home side are seen as outsiders in bwin’s 3-way betting market with odds of 39/20, compared to 27/20 on a Liverpool win and 9/4 on the draw.
But if you fancy taking another route with your betting, then take a look at these five statistics.
2: There has been a minimum of two goals scored between Newcastle and Liverpool in each of their past 13 meetings and nine of those games have seen at least three. Bwin has 14/5 on offer for two goals to be scored and 18/25 on over 2.5 goals in the game.
2: Papiss Cisse scored both goals for Newcastle as they beat Liverpool at St James’ Park last season and as the Magpies’ top scorer he could be well placed at 17/10 to strike again.
8: The number of times over the past 20 matches that Liverpool have been leading at half-time – and they have never lost from this position, winning seven and drawing once. Newcastle have lost all five games when they have trailed at the break, so 11/4 on Liverpool/Liverpool in the half-time/full-time market could be worth a punt.
23: The number of goals that Luis Suarez has scored this season, 13 more than the next highest scorer, Steven Gerrard. In the Uruguayan’s absence Daniel Sturridge is likely to step into the breach and he is 6/4 favourite to score, with Gerrard at 2/1.
34: The number of points Newcastle accumulated last time they were relegated in 2009. They are already three points better off this season and have won three more games. The Toon are 18/1 to drop out of the top flight again.