Newcastle United will take on Liverpool at St. James' Park on Sunday in their next Premier League fixture, and with both outfits vying to claim three points, Magpies boss Rafa Benitez - who was indeed once at the helm of the Merseyside giants - is expecting a "special" encounter in the North East, one which will be "emotional" to him due to his strong connection with his current club's domestic opponents.

During the 2004-05 season at Anfield, the Spaniard helped shepherd Liverpool towards their sixth Champions League title against AC Milan in what's said to be one of the most iconic fight-backs in football history.

The 57-year-old still considers the city to be his "home", although now he is concentrated on the job at hand with the 'Toon', as for now staying in the Premier League is of paramount importance.


Speaking to the media, via the club's official website, Benitez said: "It's a special game for me. It will be emotional, because I spent so many years there, and have so many good memories. My family still live in Liverpool, so it is my home," - sentimental words from the former Inter Milan and Real Madrid tactician, but Benitez understands just as much as anyone that Klopp and co.

will not be offering Newcastle any favours come kick-off.


As it stands, Newcastle are situated in the middle of the Premier League pack in 10th place, with 9 points to their name. In their last league outing, the Tynesiders fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of fellow Championship promotion winners of last season and top-flight debutantes Brighton and Hove Albion, a loss which was certainly out of character.

Newcastle dropped points at the AMEX Stadium for the third time during the 2017-18 campaign, so Benitez will be hoping that his somewhat stuttering squad can scalp his old employers, who have also been markedly inconsistent thus far both in the Premier League and in the Champions League.

In Europe this term, Liverpool have drawn their opening two ties, the most recent shortcoming being against group E counterparts Spartak Moscow at the Otkrytiye Arena, with the scoreline ending 1-1.

Liverpool relentlessly peppered the Russian outfit's goal throughout the proceedings but found little fruition in-front of the target. The Reds will be looking to put their chances away in the coming weeks after an agonising display against the Russian Premier League side, so starting brightly and putting Newcastle to the sword on Sunday will be top of agenda.