Liverpool fans will be welcoming Rafa Benitez back to Anfield with Newcastle United on Saturday, but the Magpies’ current manager won’t be the only one returning to a venue they once called home. It will also be a return for midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.
The 26-year-old spent three at times difficult seasons at the club at the start of the decade, signing on while Benitez was still manager in 2010—shortly before he was replaced by Roy Hodgson, and then leaving at the end of Brendan Rodgers’ first year.
“They are a fantastic team with a fantastic manager, fantastic supporters, and a fantastic stadium,” Shelvey noted today, both reminiscing about his time at Anfield and looking ahead to the difficult match his challenge his side expect to face this weekend.
“Everything about that club is fantastic, so it’s going to be a tough place to go and play football—but it will be nice to go back there now the stadium is finished. It’s going to be a great game, two good sides that are going to be going at it.”
Based on how Newcastle lined up when Liverpool visited them and how they’ve often played top sides with Benitez in charge—which is to say defensively—one might question whether both sides will indeed be going at in on Saturday afternoon.
Still, it’s good to see that Shelvey has fond memories of his time at the club despite that he was at it during a very difficult spell—assuming, that is, he’s able to play as the Newcastle man is currently awaiting the results of a knee scan.
Shelvey picked up a knock during Newcastle’s 2-2 draw with Bournemouth last time out and is currently questionable for this weekend but hasn’t yet been ruled out and could as yet face his former side.