Rafa Benitez has a message for Liverpool ahead of his emotional return to Anfield with Newcastle

Rafa Benitez is targeting three points on his return to Anfield with Newcastle United.
Newcastle manger Rafael Benitez.Newcastle manger Rafael Benitez.
Newcastle manger Rafael Benitez.

Benitez’s side face Liverpool on Saturday knowing a win would lift the club out of the Premier League’s relegation zone.

Second-bottom Newcastle left the field after Tuesday night’s 1-1 with Manchester City at St James’s Park frustrated that they had not taken all three points.

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And Benitez – who spent six years at Anfield earlier in his managerial career – is looking to go one better against Liverpool, who play the first leg of their Europa League semi-final against Villarreal next week.

“We have to try to win the game,” said Benitez.

“My connection with Liverpool is good. I hope they do really well in the Europa League and we can get the three points.

“At this moment it is true that we are doing well. We have to believe we can fight and beat anyone.”

Benitez was heartened by the reaction of his players to going behind against City, with Sergio Aguero having given the visitors an early lead with an offside goal.

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Makeshift right-back Vurnon Anita levelled later in the first half, but Newcastle couldn’t get a second-half winner.

Benitez is looking for his players to show the same character at Anfield, where United haven’t won a league game since 1994.

“We have to win every single game,” said the 56-year-old.

“We are doing really well. A game against a good team like Liverpool will be tough, but hopefully we will see the same reaction.”