Liverpool don’t face Newcastle United until May 4th and have games against Huddersfield and Barcelona before then, but such is the nature of the title race in England that many in the media at least are already focusing in on that match.
That’s not entirely surprising, given Newcastle are currently managed by Rafa Benitez, who came close to winning the league with the Reds back in 2009 and is one of only three men to manage the Reds to glory in the Champions League.
“That is a game I can’t win,” Benitez told TalkSport. “If we win, they will say: ‘Oh, [he should help Liverpool].’ And, if you lose: ‘He was not giving everything [for Newcastle].’ I will not talk too much about this game until it comes around.”
While it might amuse Liverpool fans to talk about Benitez throwing the match, realistically that’s not something that would happen. Benitez, and Newcastle, will try to win—even if Liverpool beating Cardiff assured their Premier League survival.
Just as realistically, though, if Liverpool play to their maximum, given the form they’re in they shouldn’t need help from their former manager—they should be more than able to take the match on their merits. If they play to their maximum.
That won’t stop the press asking about the tension of a match between Benitez’ current club and a former club whose fans still sing his name. Liverpool, though, now have Jürgen Klopp to worry about them—Benitez’ concern is Newcastle.
“It’s my job to do the best for my team,” he added. “I will try to do the best for my team [against Liverpool]. That’s it.”