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Newcastle vs. Liverpool, lineups: No surprise, Mario Balotelli starts

Newcastle will hope to keep the Reds forward quiet as they search for their third straight Premier League win.

Gareth Copley

Newcastle may be sitting 14th in the Premier League, but it's hard not to think that they have the edge going into their game against Liverpool. The hosts are coming off a midweek 2-0 victory over Manchester City, which came on the heels of a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Tottenham. That makes four games unbeaten in all competitions, a good look for a side that a month ago seemed like it would spend the season fighting the drop.

The Reds, meanwhile, certainly won't be fighting relegation, but they don't look to be challenging for the title either. Last week brought a dull goalless draw with Hull City, although Liverpool did manage to crank things up midweek by beating Swansea in the League Cup. And Mario Balotelli finally scored, so maybe that saga is drawing to a close.

LINEUPS

Newcastle (4-3-3): Krul; Janmaat, S.Taylor, Coloccini, Dummett; Sissoko, Abeid, Colback; Obertan, Cisse, Ameobi

Subs: Elliot, Haidara, R.Taylor, Aarons, Cabella, Gouffran, Perez

Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Mignolet, Johnson, Moreno, Lovren, Skrtel, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Balotelli

Subs: Jones, Toure, Manquillo, Lallana, Can, Lambert, Borini