Newcastle will be without captain Fabricio Coloccini, who tore his hamstring last weekend.
But Ryan Taylor is fit after a calf injury while Cheick Tiote has recovered from a hamstring problem. Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam misses out with a knee problem, which will be assessed in the next fortnight.
Defenders Glen Johnson (calf), Martin Kelly (ankle) and Daniel Agger (rib) could all return, while Maxi Rodriguez has recovered from illness.
Andy Carroll will be desperate to prove he’s no April Fool when he returns to Newcastle United for the first time since his £35m move to Liverpool. But every step taken by the most expensive English footballer will be under intense scrutiny.
His world has been turned upside down since netting for Newcastle in this fixture 15 months ago. He’s scored just eight goals in 47 games for Liverpool. He has often cut a bewildered, isolated figure and has been cruelly pilloried.
But Kenny Dalglish believes in the 6ft 4in striker – and how many times does a player go back to haunt his old club? For Newcastle, though, a third league win on the spin will virtually guarantee a top-six finish and a probable European place. They’ve reached 50 points from 30 games for the first time in nine years – a remarkable achievement by Alan Pardew.
His signings have been terrific. Yohan Cabaye has driven the midfield tempo. Demba Ba, up to his recent six-match goal drought, has been a revelation. Only Wayne Rooney has scored more Premier League goals than Papiss Cisse since the Senegalese frontman made his debut on 5 February.
Liverpool’s league season is slipping away in alarming fashion with five defeats in six. They’ve won just two Premier League matches in 2012. It’s fair to say some of those results have been harsh. They were brilliant at QPR until the defence started making horrific mistakes, but they need to turn the corner.
The cup campaigns have kept the wolves from the door. But another defeat here would leave them in a fight to finish top dogs on Merseyside. By Monday night they could be 34 points behind the Premier League leaders and just 14 points above the bottom three.
That’s simply not good enough. It’s time for Carroll to start repaying his manager’s faith.
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