Jamaal Lascelles reveals why Newcastle United will only get better ahead of Liverpool test
Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles believes Newcastle United are only going to get better - as they get to grips with Rafa Benitez's tactical tweaks.
Benitez has been playing with three centre backs in recent weeks in a bid to provide some defensive stability.
And while Lascelles admits it has been 'challenging' adapting to the Spaniard's new shape, he believes the side will only improve once they get to grips with the set-up.
"It is something that can be challenging for a player," he admitted,
"We work on it in training and we are not really used to it.
"For three seasons here with the manager we have pretty much always been four at the back, unless we play Manchester City away. The boys are adapting.
"The more we work on it the better we will get. We have not done it that much.
"But people have stepped in and done well. We have got a lot of support in depth at the back and people who are hungry."
The Spaniard's new formation will be put through a serious test at table-topping Liverpool on Boxing Day, with the free-scoring Reds looking to build on their four-point advantage.
And while Lascelles knows that Jurgen Klopp's side will be full of confidence, he believes that hard work - coupled with Benitez's tactical acumen - could see the Magpies spring a shock at Anfield.
"They are a good side," he said.
"Last year we drew 1-1 at home and they are flying at the moment.
"There is no reason why we can't go there and cause and upset.
"I am sure the gaffer will have a tactic that will trouble them and whatever he says we will do to our best.
"If we work hard, play with intensity and get in and around them there is no reason why we can't cause an upset."
There have been some surprise Premier League results already during the festive period, with Crystal Palace defying the odds to claim victory at Manchester City last weekend.
But Lascelles won't be drawing inspiration from such triumphs, having always believed that the Magpies were capable of securing such results.
"I don't look at other teams and say we could do it because they have," added the Newcastle skipper.
"I am confident in our team that we can beat anyone on our day. I have always said it.
"We just need to do it when we cross the white line."