Michael Owen says that he is looking forward to seeing the reception Rafa Benitez gets at Anfield on Saturday.
After masterminding that Champions League win with such a limited team, the scousers should forever feel in his debt for what he achieved on Merseyside.
Speaking of limited teams…Newcastle United appear to have now made tangible progress under Rafa – there had previously been some signs of improvement but the results and disciplined displays against Swansea and Manchester City have now given hope, where there was none previously.
However, Michael Owen has seemingly only tunnel vision when it comes to his former clubs, predicting that Liverpool will win with Newcastle failing to score.
To back this us he points to the failure of Newcastle to win at Liverpool in the Premier League in over 20 years, plus the 4-0 win for the red half of Merseyside in the derby on Wednesday night.
Whilst both things are true, Newcastle hadn’t managed a point in the last eight years against Manchester City before Tuesday night, whilst Everton were absolutely shocking in last night’s match at Anfield.
Michael Owen writing for BetVictor:
“I’m looking forward to seeing the reception Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez gets on Merseyside with the man that famously led the Reds to Champions League success in Istanbul still loved at Anfield and likely to be given a warm homecoming.
“The Magpies are likely to leave empty handed however with the Reds hitting their stride under Jurgen Klopp and awesome in their 4-0 defeat of Everton in the Merseyside derby midweek.
“Newcastle are winless in their last 20 PL visits to Anfield, losing 17, and are unlikely to build on that at the weekend.”
“Michael Owen recommendation: Liverpool to win to nil at 2/1 with BetVictor“
Interestingly, Michael Owen also had this to say about Manchester City facing Stoke this weekend:
“Many attributed City’s 3-0 defeat of Chelsea last weekend at the Bridge to the hosts underperforming but I was personally rather taken with the Citizens success and expect them to follow-up when hosting Stoke at the Etihad.”
Fair enough if Michael Owen wants to totally ignore Newcastle’s improved performance and win against Swansea…but how can he do the same against Manchester City?
Owen says he was really impressed with Manchester City going to Chelsea and demolishing them 3-0, yet Newcastle then get no credit for fighting back after Aguero’s offside goal to earn a draw, with most neutrals believing if anybody deserved to win it was Newcastle.
Liverpool are undoubtedly hot favourites to win the game but Newcastle do deserve more respect for the improvement so far under Rafa Benitez and with a Europa League semi final away at Villarreal five days later, will Jurgen Klopp look to make such radical changes (10 players left out) as he did at Bournemouth last weekend?
Also, this season Liverpool have failed to beat Sunderland, West Brom and Norwich at Anfield, as well as losing to Crystal Palace at home.
The media will of course want to smother everything with a Rafa Benitez/Anfield love-in and maybe that is just what we need, whilst Rafa quietly goes about the task of an Istanbul scale turn around for Newcastle United.
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