Forget VVD: This £9m-rated defender is key to Liverpool’s clean sheet against Newcastle

The Liverpool fans are full of confidence in the Transfer Tavern ahead of their fixture against Newcastle United this evening. 

Rafa Benitez is set to make an emotional return to Anfield this evening for a fixture which is hugely important in the context of both side’s ambitions for the season. For Newcastle United, anything they can take away from Merseyside this evening will represent a huge bonus in their bid for survival, and their recent victory over Manchester United will give them plenty of reason to believe a shock result is on the cards.

Meanwhile, the pressure is firmly on Liverpool who are hot-favourites to secure victory tonight, but if The Reds’ recent form is anything to go by, they should coast to victory against The Magpies. Liverpool have been resurgent since the turn of the year and put together a run of 5 wins from 7 Premier League games, including a victory over the champions-elect Manchester City.

Many supporters have pointed towards the arrival of Virgil van Dijk to explain their side’s defensive improvement, but the impact of Andrew Robertson (valued at £9 million by Transfermarkt) since stepping in to replace Alberto Moreno has also played a decisive role in improving Liverpool’s fortunes. Liverpool consistently looked vulnerable with Moreno operating on the left-side of their defence, but that vulnerability has almost been completely eradicated since Robertson has stepped in to the back-four.

Although Moreno was showing signs of improvement prior to collecting an injury at the end of November, his frailties have been illuminated by the quality and consistency of Roberton’s performances. The Scottish international was effectively frozen out of Liverpool’s first-team during the early stages of the season, but now that he has cemented his position at left-back it is hard to see a way back for Moreno.

Newcastle are far from a prolific side, but they have players in their side who can hurt Liverpool if they find themselves in space, as Matt Ritchie has proven in his last two appearances. Ritchie was the hero of Tyneside after he netted the winner against Manchester United in February, and he turned provider to set up Dwight Gayle against Bournemouth last week.

Robertson’s fellow Scottish international will be looking to make an impact against top quality once again this evening, so Liverpool’s rising star must continue to boost his reputation by keeping him quiet at Anfield and ensuring his side keep their 12th clean sheet in the league this season.

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