Rafa Benitez gives worrying Newcastle transfer update after Liverpool defeat

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez says he's worried by Newcastle United's progress in the transfer market ahead of the January window.

Benitez's side were this afternoon beaten 4-0 by Liverpool at Anfield.

The Premier League champions won thanks to goals from Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho.

And the result has left Newcastle 15th in the league ahead of Saturday's game against Watford at Vicarage Road.

Benitez has been planning for the transfer window for months with Steve Nickson, the club's head of recruitment.

And United's manager, keen on signing Atlanta United midfielder MIguel Almiron, was asked if the club was "close" to signing a player after the defeat, the heaviest of his tenure at St James's Park.

"No," said Benitez, who had to sell to buy in the summer.

Asked if he was worried about the situation, Benitez said: "Yes."

With owner Mike Ashley on holiday over Christmas, Benitez has been dealing with Lee Charnley, United's managing director ahead of the window.

"I was talking with Lee Charnley, and still I have the same feeling – that it will not be easy," said Benitez.

Asked if he would be scrambling for signings at the end of next month, Benitez said: "I have no idea."

Meanwhile, Newcastle went behind at Anfield to an 11th-minute Lovren strike after Joselu had put a header wide.

Salah doubled Liverpool's advantage after the break from a disputed penalty – referee Graham Scott felt he was pushed by Paul Dummett – and Shaqiri and Fabinho netted late goals to cap a miserable afternoon for the club.

"It's difficult to explain when you lose a game in the way that we lost," said Benitez. "We did well, we started well – and in the first half, in the first minute, we had our chances.

"We didn't take our chances. We then made a mistake, we gave them hope and belief, and still we had so more moments in the first half when they were pushing but still, in the end, you go in at half-time 1-0 down.

"But then, in the second half, a soft penalty changed everything, and then now you have to explain why you concede four goals.

"But key moments for me – the first goal, obviously, which changed a little bit our confidence. Then the second goal it was very difficult to react against a very good team."

Fabinho, a £44million signing, came off the bench for Liverpool, who have invested heavily in their squad since appointing Klopp as manager.

Benitez, however, still felt his team could compete against Jurgen Klopp's side.

"We know that it's a big difference in everything, but still we have had some games that we have been a little bit more compact, and stronger," said Benitez.

"But as soon as we made a couple of mistakes, we paid for that, and we didn't react how we have to do it."

Liverpool, Benitez's former club, are now six points clear of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Manchester City, the defending champions, are third after losing to Leicester City.

And Benitez feels that Liverpool, the club he guided to Champions League success in 2005, can win the Premier League.

"We saw they are good enough to win the title, yes," said Benitez. "What I have said before is they have a very good team and a very good squad, and so they have very good players on the bench

"When you want to win a league title, you need to be consistent, and they can do it."