While Newcastle have nothing to play for, that couldn’t be further from the truth for opponents Liverpool.

The Reds head to the North East on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Barcelona, knowing they must win to take the Premier League title race to the final day.

In Newcastle’s final home game of the season, Rafa Benitez will take on his former employers, in what could be his last appearance in the St James’ Park dugout.

(Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

While noises about a new contract are suddenly more positive, fans will still take this chance to try and convince Benitez to stay, much like in 2016 against Spurs.

But who will the Spaniard pick as he attempts to derail Liverpool’s title bid?

Captain returns

Jamaal Lascelles missed the trip to Brighton due to a stomach illness. But the captain is fit and available for selection once again.

While Federico Fernandez was decent in his place, Lascelles should return to the centre of the back five.

DeAndre Yedlin has a groin problem, meaning Javi Manquillo will continue as the right wing-back, where he’ll come up against his former club.

A bigger chance for Shelvey

Jonjo Shelvey returned to the team last weekend and did okay. The midfielder coasted through the first half, but didn’t carve out any chances for his teammates.

(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

But the 27-year-old deserves another chance to start, this time against much stronger opposition. Shelvey won’t see as much of the ball, and it will be a real test of his discipline.

It seems like Mo Diame isn’t going to get the games needed to trigger a contract extension, so Shelvey will continue alongside Isaac Hayden. This could be Hayden’s final home game for the club.

Perez has to start

The in-form Ayoze Perez limped off against Brighton after giving us the lead. But the Spaniard has trained ahead of the game, and must start.

(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Our attack would be pretty toothless if Perez and Miguel Almiron were missing.

While fans want to see Yoshinori Muto, this is too tough a game for Benitez to take a risk. Therefore it’ll be Christian Atsu who starts on the left of attack.

As always, Salomon Rondon leads the line.

Predicted lineup to face Liverpool: Dubravka; Schar, Lascelles, Dummett; Manquillo, Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie; Perez, Atsu, Rondon.

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