Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez open to future return as Liverpool manager

Liverpool Predicted XI: Newcastle (A)

Newcastle United have a handy enough record against the top sides, particularly since Rafa Benitez's arrival - beating Tottenham Hotspur and drawing with both Manchester City and Liverpool towards the end of the doomed 2015-16 Premier League season.

After spells at Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid, Benitez was brought in to save Newcastle from relegation in March previous year.

As at Anfield, Newcastle fans have the manager's back; controlling the message is an underappreciated quality for a man with a shy public manner who many players have remarked is nearly impossible to get close to. "But that is football, you never know", he said.

Asked if he had ever been close to returning to Anfield, Newcastle United's manager said: "It's quite hard, because I have been in Italy, or Madrid, or moving around".

"It was a massive club, and in hindsight it was a big call to move from Liverpool, but I felt it was the right one at the time".

With two goals and two assists in the first three Premiership games this season, it seeme that Firminho's time had eventually come. Sometimes they have problems and you are unavailable, or sometimes you are available and they are doing well.

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"I'm getting older, but for a manager, I'm still a young manager, so we'll see what happens". I don't want to say [I will go back]. I am happy here.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has insisted he is not envious of rival clubs' clinical strikers.

"But in the future..." It is all in the future, but I don't want any "Rafa wants to go back".

The 57-year-old Spaniard enjoyed six years at the Anfield helm and won four trophies, including the Champions League, before his departure. "We'll see what we do with them".

His stubborn character did manage to rub some fans up the wrong way, but what can not be denied is that he is top-class manager with a great record. It will be emotional because I had so many years, so many good memories.

Making his prediction on the BBC Sport website, in which he says he is expecting a 2-0 win for Liverpool, he states: "After watching Newcastle's defeat by Brighton last weekend, I was left thinking the Magpies have got a lot of work to do to stay in the Premier League".

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