Rafa Benitez is ready to put his “trust” in Vurnon Anita – with Daryl Janmaat battling to play again this season.
Anita scored Newcastle United’s equaliser in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw against Manchester City.
The 27-year-old, playing as a makeshift right-back with Janmaat sidelined, has impressed Benitez with his professionalism and understanding of the game.
And Anita is set to continue in defence for the relegation-threatened club against Liverpool at Anfield tomorrow.
“He’s a player that you can trust,” said United manager Benitez, whose side could pull out of the Premier League’s drop zone with a win.
“He always will give you everything and also the understanding of the game and the things that we are trying to do.
“He’s very focused and he’s helping a lot when we have some problems like we have now in defence.”
Anita, signed from Ajax in the summer of 2012, scored with his weaker left foot after cutting inside Aleksandar Kolarov.
“Everybody said it was a cross, but it was definitely a shot,” he said.
“I came inside and I had my head down. I just saw the goal and I just shot. It was a good goal.”
Meanwhile, Janmaat is sidelined with groin and hand injuries suffered in the defeat to Southampton earlier this month.
Even if the 26-year-old recovers from his groin problem in time to play again this season, his fractured hand could stop him featuring despite his willingness to play through the pain.
Benitez revealed last week that Janmaat – who had surgery on his hand after punching a door in frustration – is wearing a cast.
And he would need to be cleared to play by the club doctor and the surgeon who operated on him – and find a suitable cast.
“When I was talking with him, he said ‘no, no – I will take a risk for the team’,” said Benitez.
“But you need to find the right protection and you need permission from the surgeon and the doctor and everything.
“The most positive thing for me is that he wanted to take the risk.”