Newcastle v Liverpool, 17:30
– Fears remain over Newcastle’s continued Premier League status, after a 1-1 draw with West Brom last weekend left them once again looking over their shoulders as the season reaches it’s climax.
– Yoan Gouffran got himself no the scoresheet early against the Baggies, offering yet more evidence that he will prove to be yet another sharp forward signing for the Magpies. The 26 year-old has quickly established himself as one of the most consistent attackers in the Newcastle squad, racking up a 73.7% accuracy rate from 19 attempts on goal.
– One wonders where Newcastle would be without the ever-present industry of Jonas Gutierrez, the midfielder constantly tracking back to pick up defensive slack when needed. His 129 defensive contributions is the 3rd highest in the Newcastle squad this term according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– Newcastle fans will be hoping to see more of Gael Bigirimana next season, the youngster having proven he has the technical ability to cope in the Premier League. For the 461 minutes he’s played this season, on average he’s completed a pass in the opponent’s half once every 3.8 minutes.
– Liverpool came from behind to earn a 2-2 with Chelsea last time out, in a match that will unfortunately be remembered for Luis Suarez’s now infamous bite on Branislav Ivanovic.
– Whilst Suarez has unfortunately attracted controversy this season, in footballing terms his value to Liverpool is difficult to overestimate. His 23 goals for the Reds this season have come as part of a gigantic 169 efforts on goal with an accuracy rate of 60.9%.
– Right-back Glen Johnson remains Liverpool’s most effective tackler as the season marches towards its final few matches. He’s come out on top in 73.8% of his 84 challenges this season.
– Steven Gerrard continues to defy the march of time according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, compiling a quite superb set of statistics this season. He’s now made 1015 passes in the opponent’s half this season, making him part of a group of only 5 players to have broken the 1000-pass barrier (Cazorla, Arteta, Toure, Carrick) and the oldest player in the top 10 in the league for passes completed.