Mark Lawrenson has given his verdict on the return of Rafa Benitez to Anfield.
Lawrenson thinks that Rafa will get a good pat on the back for his services to Liverpool but his team will be lucky to get a kick, never mind any points.
He does give Benitez and his players credit for the results against Swansea and Manchester City but he thinks his beloved Liverpool ‘are on a roll’ at the minute and will outplay and beat Newcastle comfortably.
That may well be the case but on Tuesday night Manchester City arrived at St James Park having destroyed Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Even despite going down to an early offside goal, instead of collapsing as Newcastle fans have become accustomed to over recent years, the players actually dug in and ended up equalising and finishing the stronger team.
Liverpool have scored 15 goals in their last four games so obviously newly found leader Jamaal Lascelles and his fellow defenders will expect to be busy – but even Mark Lawrenson accepts that Rafa has somehow managed to put ‘a bit of resolve’ into what looked a feeble team, both physically and mentally.
Lawrenson has tipped Liverpool to win 2-0 but as well as tightening the defence up in recent matches, Rafa Benitez has managed one goal or more out of his players in each of the five games that followed his opening game away at title favourites Leicester.
Those eight goals in five matches suggest that United could/should find a goal from somewhere this afternoon and hopefully combined with resolute defending could deliver a point…or even better.
At the very least Newcastle will approach the game with rising confidence and at this stage of the season and the position United find themselves in, it is a very valuable commodity.
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has had two decent results in the past week – a win over Swansea and a draw with Manchester City.
“It looks like he has put a bit of resolve back in that team, but I am not sure he has got the players to go and get another positive result at Anfield.
“I don’t see them getting much of the ball on Saturday, the way Liverpool are playing. The Reds are on a roll at the moment.
“Benitez will get a good reception of course, but I think that is all he will get.”