Georginio Wijnaldum put on a masterclass the last time Liverpool visited St James' Park, while playing in the black and white of Newcastle United. The Dutchman dinked the ball over Simon Mignolet in injury time to give the home side a 2-0 win.

It was just Jürgen Klopp's second defeat in 12 matches as Liverpool manager.

A lot has changed since the result in December 2015. Wijnaldum is now somewhat of a cult hero on Merseyside and has one of the catchiest chants ever, and Liverpool return to Newcastle in a poor run of form having won just one of their previous six matches.

A win for Rafael Benítez's men against his former employers would see the Magpies go into the international break above Liverpool in the Premier League table.

The ex-Real Madrid tactician has masterminded three wins from four after two defeats kicked off the season. They're looking solid defensively and have conceded six goals fewer than their guests on Sunday.

And that resilient defence – which has only been breached on five occasions in six matches – may be key to Newcastle getting a result and heaping more pressure on Klopp.

Here we take a look at how the match could be won and lost, and why it could very well be defence vs attack in the north east.

Newcastle's narrow defensive set-up

As Liverpool fans know from first-hand experience, Benítez likes his teams to be compact and narrow when defending. The defensive lines are clear, every player knows their role in the system, and the opposition have to be at their creative best to find a way through.

Their greatest strength, controlling the space in the centre of the pitch, can also be their biggest weaknesses. They forfeit the wide areas and it allows the opposition to overload down the flanks and create chances that way.

Against the majority of teams in the Premier League it's not a problem because teams in the modern era like to work the ball into the area instead of crossing at every given chance. But Liverpool have Andrew Robertson who doesn't need an invitation to cross.

He's got the quality from wide areas to cause all sorts of problems and the home side could be in trouble if they allow him the freedom they allowed Brighton.

In the above picture you see how narrow Newcastle are. It's difficult to play your way through that many bodies in the centre of the pitch. With Sadio Mané – who is likely to return to the starting XI – and Mohamed Salah looking to drift inside at any given opportunity, it may become a little congested there.

But if Robertson starts in place of Moreno, Liverpool will have a player who can take full advantage of the space he's afforded. Whereas Moreno likes to retain the ball and looks to play it to the feet of Philippe Coutinho and Co, Robertson's first instincts are to get the ball into the penalty area as quickly as possible.

With Newcastle being so narrow it's almost like a free-kick for the Scottish full-back and he'll be able to pick his spot.

It happened on more than one occasion against Brighton during the 1-0 defeat. In the pictures above you again see a narrow Newcastle shape. The man in possession holds onto the ball waiting for the overlap, and when it arrives he's able to get the ball into the penalty area.

The home side had good numbers in the box and if Liverpool are to exploit the wide areas on Sunday they'll have to ensure they do the same.

Liverpool's set piece woes

It's a problem which has plagued Liverpool for some time now. They seem to concede the softest goals from set pieces. However, this season it's started to become more evident that they're aerially weak in open play.

Sean Dyche mentioned it following on from Burnley's 1-1 draw at Anfield and Craig Shakespeare was keen to highlight it after his Leicester City side knocked Liverpool out of the Carabao Cup.

Aleksander Mitrovic doesn't start for Benítez's side but he could be a handy man to bring off the bench in the second half. The biggest threat they'll pose to Klopp's men will be from from set pieces.

Of the six goals they've scored in the Premier League this term, three of them have arrived from dead ball situations. They're not the most prolific of teams but what they're good at they do well.

Jamaal Lascelles powered home headers against Swansea City and West Ham United while Ciaran Clark nodded home against Stoke City.  If they get their delivery right against Liverpool they could cause the away side all kinds of problems.

In a weird sort of way it may end up being Liverpool's attack vs Liverpool's defence, and Newcastle will be hopeful they can profit from this while Klopp will be on the look out for his first win against the Magpies.

Premier League