Paul Merson and Chris Sutton agree on Liverpool question ahead of Newcastle United visit

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Two former Premier League stars give their take on Newcastle United’s home game with Liverpool.

Former Premier League stars Paul Merson and Chris Sutton have both identified one key reason why they believe Newcastle United will secure a long-awaited win over Liverpool this weekend.

Not since Georginio Wijnaldum found the net in a 2-0 win during United’s relegation season in 2015 have a Magpies side taken three points from the Reds - but there are high hopes that run can come to an end at St James Park on Sunday afternoon.

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Both sides head into the game having made solid starts to the Premier League season with Jurgen Klopp’s side sat one point and three places above Eddie Howe’s men after taking four points from an opening day visit to Chelsea and last weekend’s home game against Bournemouth.

Newcastle are looking to get back to winning ways after last Saturday’s defeat against treble winners Manchester City and former Arsenal and England forward Merson believes they can do exactly that if they can seize the initiative in front of their own supporters.

He told SportKeeda: “If Newcastle start this game at a hundred miles an hour, I don’t see Liverpool being able to cope with them. They need to turn it on like they did against Aston Villa. I watched Liverpool against Bournemouth last week, and Bournemouth were very good in the first 20 minutes of the game.

I thought Newcastle would be underachievers this season, but they were brilliant in their first game. They had an opportunity to seize the initiative against Man City, but they didn’t win that game. They’ve had a hard start to their season and if they win this game, they’ll have won six out of nine points - it could set them up for a top-four finish. It would send a message to the rest of the Premier League that they’re a big threat.

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Merson did point to the performance of former Magpies target Dominik Szoboszlai during the Reds win against Bournemouth as a positive for Jurgen Klopp’s men - but he insisted the Magpies will go on to win the game if they make a fast start at St James Park.

He added: “Wataru Endo could play in a midfield three for Liverpool, but the problem is that it’ll be his first game for the team, and I couldn’t think of a worse one than a game against Newcastle. I would’ve played him against Bournemouth last week where Liverpool would dominate. I was very impressed with Dominik Szoboszlai the other day - I couldn’t believe how good he was.

“If Newcastle play the way they usually do and start, they can smother Liverpool all over this pitch. If they can make the most of their start, I think they’ll be able to win this game.”

Former Blackburn Rovers and Celtic striker Chris Sutton also pointed to Liverpool’s perceived lack of ‘midfield protection’ as a reason they could leave St James Park empty-handed for the first time since 2015.

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Writing in his BBC Sport predictions column, Sutton said: “Newcastle’s opening-day win against Aston Villa was a triumph and then it was a bit of a comedown for them. There was so much excitement that Newcastle could go there and take the game to Manchester City and they didn’t do that.

“Liverpool have so many good attacking players - Luis Diaz’s goal last week was brilliant, Diogo Jota is a handful, Mohamed Salah of course and Dominik Szoboszlai looks a talented player, but do they have that midfield protection?”

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