X

Wednesday 19
June

Newcastle United

Reds backed by Rafa

26th December 2018, 09:37 by Nick Harris

Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has tipped the Reds to push reigning champions Manchester City all the way in the title race.

Benitez takes his Newcastle side to Anfield on Boxing Day with the hosts four points clear of City, who lost 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday, and top of the table - a game before the halfway stage.

Jurgen Klopp's men finished fourth at the end of the last campaign, 25 points adrift of the champions, but Spaniard Benitez is tipping them to make a better fist of it this time around.

Asked if they are title favourites, he said: "Still it's too soon, but I think both teams are a little bit ahead of the others. I haven't seen the Manchester City game, but nobody was expecting that.

"But as I've said before, Crystal Palace, the three up front, you can buy them for £50million, each one, so it sometimes can happen when teams have good players to play on the counter-attack.

"But still I can see Liverpool, I can see Manchester City ahead of the others. Liverpool are in form, they are doing really well and it will be a very difficult game for us."

Benitez famously guided Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005 courtesy of a remarkable fightback against AC Milan in the final in Istanbul, and he believes Klopp has a stronger squad at his disposal than he had at the time.

Asked if the current Liverpool side is the best since his, he replied: "It's difficult to say 'team' because always in my head is that when we beat Real Madrid and Barcelona, there was a great team, but what I think is they have the best squad.

"When you spend money, you bring in better players - they have signed Fabinho, spent some money on (Naby) Keita, but they kept (Jordan) Henderson and they kept (Georginio) Wijnaldum, so you keep the good players and you bring in new players, so the squad is better.

"What does that mean? That in different competitions, different games, still you have a strong team on the pitch."

The Magpies will arrive on Merseyside desperate to improve on a tepid display in Saturday's goalless home draw with lowly Fulham, which left them five points clear of the relegation zone.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Nick Harris is a long-standing journalist who specialises in football and rugby league. An avid golfer, Nick also follows the major boxing fights closely.

More Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Chinese interest casts doubt over Benitez' future

18th June 2019, 12:36

Rafael Benitez' future at Newcastle has taken a new twist following reports of a contract offer from Chinese club Dalian Yifang.

Newcastle United

Newcastle weighing up Savarino bid

18th June 2019, 10:19

Newcastle are set to rival West Ham to the signing of winger Jefferson Savarino, who currently plays for Real Salt Lake.

Newcastle United

Magpies line up Targett

17th June 2019, 15:25

Newcastle United are ready to make another offer for Southampton left-back Matt Targett, reports claim.

Newcastle United

Gudelj on Magpies' radar

17th June 2019, 14:43

Newcastle United are reportedly keen on signing Serbian midfielder Nemanja Gudelj from Guangzhou Evergrande.

Newcastle United

Magpies takeover on the right track

14th June 2019, 16:10

The Bin Zayed Group's proposed takeover of Newcastle United is progressing well, according to the latest report.

Newcastle United

Longstaff remains on Man Utd wishlist

14th June 2019, 09:52

Man Utd remain keen on Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff and are being tipped to make an official bid for him this summer.

Recent Sport Headlines

Manchester United

Lukaku urged to quit Reds

19th June 2019, 07:38

Romelu Lukaku has been advised he needs to leave Manchester United and find himself the right club.

Manchester City

City still in hunt for Foxes ace

19th June 2019, 07:37

Manchester City remain in the hunt to sign Leicester City star Ben Chilwell despite talk Angelino could return to the club.

Liverpool

Reds lead race for Sporting ace

19th June 2019, 07:36

Liverpool are reported to have launched a £40million bid for Sporting Lisbon star Bruno Fernandes.

Leicester City

Foxes eye African ace

19th June 2019, 07:35

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers is said to be showing an interest in FC Porto striker Moussa Marega.

Everton

Barca star heading for Everton

19th June 2019, 07:34

Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes is set to join Everton in a permanent deal worth £22million.

Chelsea

Lamps set for three-year Chelsea deal

19th June 2019, 07:31

Frank Lampard is set to become the next manager of Chelsea, according to reports in Italy which claim he will sign a three-year deal.

Bournemouth

Lerma hailed by Cherries team-mate

19th June 2019, 07:30

Nathan Ake has hailed the impact Jefferson Lerma has made at Bournemouth and believes he will get even better.

Arsenal

No Milan move for Gunners star

19th June 2019, 07:29

Lucas Torreira's agent says no-one from AC Milan has been in touch regarding a move for the Arsenal midfielder.