The THREE selection dilemmas facing Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce ahead of trip to former European Super League side Liverpool
Their European Super League dalliance may be stolen the headlines this week, but Liverpool do play host to a resurgent Steve Bruce-led Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon – who’d have thought they’d be reading that just a week or so ago.
And ahead of that encounter Bruce has a decision or two to make on the team selection front, with most of his key players back fighting fit, apart, of course, from skipper Jamaal Lascelles.
Here we take a look at the three key areas Bruce is likely to consider changes, from the West Ham United win seven days previous.
A late leveller against Tottenham Hotspur was then followed up with winner in the closing stages against the Hammers, when United had looked to have thrown away not only a two goal lead, but another two vital points.
Is it time for the midfielder to return? His late runs into the box are like nothing United has seen since the days of Gini Wijnaldum, his closing down similar in type to Mo Diame and his carries with the ball are up there with the best in this squad.
He is one of United’s best 11 players, but Bruce seems keen to persist with Jonjo Shelvey, so much so he handed the midfielder his armband.
Bruce could switch Shelvey out and put Sean Longstaff into the midfield pivot role. More likely, however, if he calls upon Willock, will be Longstaff taken back out the side.
As Willock himself would say: “Come on you, Maggies!”
To risk ASM – or not?
Search far and wide, it will be VERY difficult to find a player more in form in the Premier League than Allan Saint-Maximin.
The flying Frenchman was at his illusive, free-running best for an hour against West Ham, and much like Burnley before them, they simply could not cope with ASM’s ability to beat a man, or three, and create something out of nothing.
He took a knock on the ankle in the 3-2 win last time out, so it’ll be interesting to see how he’s recovered. Soundings appear to point towards the player being fit and raring to go for the Anfield challenge.
Call in No.13?
It could, and should, be call in No.9, but that’s an argument for another day.
Callum Wilson is Newcastle’s 10-goal Premier League threat and has carefully felt his way back to fitness with two substitute appearances in the last two weeks.
While he was tentative at Turf Moor, he looked sharp in the second half against the Hammers.
This time, you’d imagine, the temptation to play Wilson will prove too strong from Bruce & Co, with the player likely to step in for Joelinton, or ASM, if his ankle knock proves an obstacle.
Wilson is a threat to any Premier League defender and will be welcomed back with open arms by the Geordie faithful.