Rafa Benitez gives Ayoze Perez injury update at Newcastle United ahead of Liverpool game

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez hopes Ayoze Perez will be fit to face Liverpool.

Perez was forced off against Brighton and Hove Albion with a hip problem this evening after putting Newcastle United ahead.

The forward's goal was cancelled out after the break by Pascal Gross, and the game at the Amex Stadium ended 1-1.

Perez's strike, his fifth in three games, took his Premier League goal tally for the season to 11.

The 25-year-old, United's leading scorer, had played on after taking a blow to his hip early in the game, but he eventually had to leave the field.

Perez is now being assessed ahead of next Saturday's game against league leaders Liverpool at St James's Park.

Ayoze Perez puts Newcastle ahead.

Ayoze Perez puts Newcastle ahead.

"He took a kick to his hip," said Benitez, who replaced Perez with Kenedy. "Normally it's very painful. and we'll see in two or three days how he's reacting.

"His understanding with (Salomon) Rondon is quite good. We missed him. We were changing, because we had a different kind of player when you put another one on.

"He was in form, on fire, and it was a pity when we had a player doing so well. We had to take him out."

Newcastle dominated the first half against Brighton, but Chris Hughton's side reorganised at the interval and fought back after the break.

"Obviously, I think during the first half we did really well and had the control of almost everything – without the ball, with the ball, creating chances," said Benitez.

"It was a pity for us not to score the second goal, but at the same time we knew it would be tough and difficult during the second half, because they had to push and press us from the beginning.

"We didn't manage how we did during the first half. We were missing a couple of passes to start counter-attacks, and it was a pity, because they were controlling set-pieces, and in second balls they were more aggressive during the second half. We were missing this quality on the ball."

Salomon Rondon and Fabian Schar had first-half penalty claims waved away by referee Mike Dean.

"It is quite difficult now in the situation they are in and the way that you can analyse things. There were two or three situations in the box that we were asking about things but it was a question of seeing the replay, and then you will have an opinion."