Newcastle face the unenviable task of travelling to Liverpool in the Premier League on Thursday night only days after a heavy 4-0 defeat to Leicester at the weekend.
Eddie Howe steered the Magpies to a first win of the season earlier this month but the fixture list hasn’t been kind since then. Liverpool are chasing the title and it might be that reverting to a three centre-back system helps with better defensive resilience.
Here’s a look at the starting XI the boss could pick…
Martin Dubravka (GK) – Set to start a fifth consecutive Premier League game after recovering from injury and getting his place back.
Fabian Schar (CB) – Has started the last five Premier League games in a row after being out of favour for a couple of months.
Jamaal Lascelles (CB) – It has to be a big performance from the captain if Newcastle are to have a hope of keeping Liverpool at bay.
Ciaran Clark (CB) – Could return for the first time since his red card against Norwich to give an extra body to the back line.
Javier Manquillo (RWB) – has to be on top of his game against his former club. It’s a hard role to play at the best of times.
Jonjo Shelvey (CM) – Another who will be facing his former club. One of the senior heads in this squad and an automatic starter now he is fully fit.
Joe Willock (CM) – Hasn’t made the same kind of impact as during his loan spell last season but still a very capable player on his day.
Matt Ritchie (LWB) – Could make his return on the left in place of Jamal Lewis after recently serving a suspension and being dropped to the bench.
Miguel Almiron (RW) – Could be favoured ahead of Joelinton if one of them has to be sacrificed for an extra defender.
Callum Wilson (ST) – Won’t get much in the way of chances so will have to be clinical when one does come along.
Allan Saint-Maximin (LW) – If he can catch Liverpool on the break at all, it might provide what will be rare opportunities to create.