How Rafa Benitez justified his Newcastle XI vs Liverpool

Liverpool vs Newcastle

Rafa Benitez was back at Anfield on Boxing Day as Newcastle United visited Liverpool.

Liverpool are flying high at the top of the table, while Newcastle are battling relegation.

When the team sheets came out before the game, Newcastle fans were shocked by a handful of changes.

The respective line-ups were as follows.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri, Mane, Salah, Firmino

Subs: Clyne, Fabinho, Keita, Sturridge, Lallana, Mignolet, Origi

Newcastle: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Diame, Kenedy, Muto, Joselu

Subs: Schar, Murphy, Rondon, Perez, Manquillo, Longstaff, Woodman

Salomon Rondon & Fabian Schar dropped

Benitez made six changes to his Newcastle XI which lined up against Fulham last weekend.

Yoshinori Muto, Isaac Hayden, Kenedy, Federico Fernandez, Joselu and DeAndre Yedlin were all drafted into the team.

Javi Manquillo, Fabian Schar, Christian Atsu, Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon were all left out.

Ki Sung-Yueng is currently away from Newcastle as he’s on international duty with South Korea.

Some accused Benitez after chucking the Liverpool match before it even kicked off.

How Rafa Benitez justified his Newcastle XI

Speaking before kick off, Rafa Benitez justified his Newcastle XI as follows.

Benitez’s negative comments are growing on a daily basis at Newcastle.

Following the 0-0 draw with Fulham, the Spanish boss claimed it would be a miracle if Newcastle stay up this season:

We have to be realistic and understand we will be in the bottom half for the season.

For me, it is almost clear and if we can be better than three teams, it will be another miracle.

It was a miracle last year. People were thinking, ‘Oh, you finished 10th…’, but with a couple fewer wins, we could have been in the bottom five, so it was a miracle.

If we do the same this year with teams spending even more money than last year, it will be a miracle.

Also see: Liverpool vs Newcastle live streaming: Watch online & confirmed line-ups.

Rumour: Mohamed Salah’s Liverpool quit threat if Israeli Moanes Dabour moves to Anfield.

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