Liverpool welcoming Rafa Benitez's Newcastle to Anfield is an idea that will take a lot more time to get used to than we have between now and this Saturday. In fact, it might take more time than Newcastle have as a Premier League club. The Magpies are within two points of Norwich City and Sunderland in the battle for safety, but the Canaries currently hold the edge on goal difference, and the Black Cats have a game in hand. It's all very bleak, then, if not just flat out the worst, for our dear Rafa.
On the plus side, Newcastle have hired the man for a dramatic escape in Benitez. The smile pasted over those puffy jowls will forever be ingrained in Redkinds memory after the heroics at Istanbul. And while the squad issues have been proliferating for the Magpies for years now, Rafa is also no stranger to making a collective achieve something greater than the sum of it's individual talents.
But, for the sake of argument, let's say he doesn't. Let's say Liverpool do their former gaffer no favors, and send them spiraling down even further into the relegation zone. That It ends up being too little, too late for Benitez's magic, and Newcastle get relegated to the Championship. What then?
Various media outlets have reported that very few, if any, of Newcastle's players have relegation clauses in their contracts to drop the wage level in case the club drop down into the Championship. That, combined with the fact that very few players would be willing to stomach an entire season in the Championship trying to fight for immediate promotion back up to the top tier, means this hypothetical translates into one thing: Newcastle firesale.
Now, one would be forgiven for wondering just how good a player could possibly be, if said player has been a part of the embarrassing fall from grace that has been Newcastle's last couple of seasons. However, that feeling would belie the reality that there is real talent in this squad.
Premier League proven talent, yes, but also some young-ish players with development left to go, like Vurnon Anita or Jonjo Shelvey. Some legitimately young players, like Aleksandar Mitrovic or Rolando Aarons, whose career could absolutely be salvaged in the right setting.
And then there are some undeniably talented players who fit needs for Liverpool, but have underperformed in the quagmire created by MIke Ashley's leadership. Players like Moussa Sissoko, Tim Krul, or Daryl Janmaat. The form these players have demonstrated this year has been questionable to say the least, but that fluctuation in form isn't as black and white as the kit on their backs. Don't forget these players are going to be available for absolutely bargain cut-rate transfer fees the moment the club are mathematically eliminated.
The question becomes, then, who are you taking? Anyone? No one? Chicken tenders? Give us your vote.