Other than derbies, relegation “six-pointers” and the usual titanic battles between title rivals, there can be few other fixtures that TV execs scramble to secure the rights to than Newcastle v Liverpool.
And, as BT prepare to lose their Tyneside v Merseyside virginity on Saturday at 12.45pm, it’s easy to see why this game is so highly-sought. Quite simply, it guarantees goals, goals, and more goals.
You have to really trouble football’s historians to dig out occasions when this fixture has failed to produce any, in fact it’s been almost 40 years since these two sides served up a 0-0 draw, on 23rd February 1974.
Since then, there have been goals a-plenty, particularly in the Premier League era, as endless re-runs of a slumped Kevin Keegan and a jubilant Stan Collymore attest.
In the last ten meetings alone, there have been 36 goals scored at an average of over three a game. Last season, a November 1-1 draw at Anfield produced one of the goals of the season from Luis Suarez, before a Suarez-less Liverpool still managed to plunder six past the Magpies on Tyneside in April.
That day, Daniel Sturridge bagged a brace while former Sunderland youngster Jordan Henderson also helped himself to a couple as Alan Pardew’s men capitulated in front of their home fans, going 4-0 down inside an hour.
It was the second such home humbling in recent seasons for Newcastle, with a 5-1 St James’ defeat still in the memory from 2008/09, when Steven Gerrard’s two goals inspired a ruthless display on the road from Rafa Benitez’s side.
Liverpool’s impressive start to the season has recently been boosted by the return of the ever-potent Suarez, with the Reds having scored 11 goals in seven games.
Meanwhile, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has admitted to setting his side out with a more offensive philosophy this season, having recruited the prolific Loic Remy from QPR while managing to keep a hold of the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa, two players capable of chipping in with goals from midfield.
And with Newcastle having the third most porous defence in the league, behind strugglers Crystal Palace and Sunderland, Pardew is not likely to change his set up, knowing that the watching Geordie public will be prepared to accept conceding a goal or two if it means scoring a goal or two more.
And with the league’s top two scorers so far this season, Remy and Sturridge, both on the pitch at the same time, it’s hard to see how this game will fail to continue the high-scoring trend. You can get 17/4 for there to be four goals scored in the match, while the likelihood of both teams netting is reflected in the 4/6 odds on offer for that punt.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.