Jurgen Klopp reveals what 'so cool' about Rafa Benitez ahead of Newcastle's visit to Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to Rafa Benitez ahead of Newcastle United's visit to Anfield.
Klopp's Liverpool side lead the Premier League with 18 games played this season.
Newcastle, by contrast, are in 15th place, and just five games above the relegation zone, ahead of a tough run of post-Christmas fixtures.
Klopp has spoken about his admiration for "legendary" manager Benitez – who guided Liverpool to the Champions League in 2005 – in the matchday programme for today's game.
"Today, I welcome our good friend Rafa Benitez, his players, staff, officials and the supporters of Newcastle United to Anfield for the game," said Klopp.
"I really love the affection and respect our club has for Rafa and the appreciation towards him for what he has given LFC. The word 'legend' might be overused these days, particularly in sport, but for Rafa it's almost under-selling him.
"When his name is mentioned at Melwood or Anfield to any Liverpool supporters, you see their face instantly fill with joy and love. They remember all the amazing times and moments LFC enjoyed under his leadership, and I think that's so cool.
"He remains, rightly, one of the most admired managers and coaches in Europe, and his pedigree is simply outstanding. Maybe at the start of the season, things were not so straightforward for them, but now Newcastle are a side who arae unbelievably difficult to beat.
"They have quality from front to back in the team and what is clear to anyone is that they'll have a gameplan designed to ensure they leave Anfield with a result.
"This is such a difficult game for us, but one I think we should look forward to attack."