Rafa Fears Entire Forward Line!

Last updated : 02 March 2018 By Footy Mad - Editor

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Rafa Benitez insists his Newcastle side will have much more than just the in-form Mohamed Salah to deal with at Anfield on Saturday.

Benitez is set for another emotional return to Liverpool, though sentiment is set to be put to one side as Jurgen Klopp's team bid to reclaim second place in the Premier League.

When asked about the threat of the prolific Salah during his pre-match press conference, Benitez was quick to point out the array of threats in the Liverpool squad.

Benitez said: "It's not just him (Salah), Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, anyone can be a threat. They have pace, energy, not just him. We have to try to control everyone with concentration and intensity.

"Liverpool have the pace to play counter attack, they are really good. When they have the ball the pace, the ability, it is so difficult and we have to take confidence from our win against Manchester United into the game."

Though the veteran coach isn't making exceptions for Salah, he admits the Egyptian is a player he has kept an eye on for some time.

"I was following him years ago when he came to England, because I have a friend working in Egypt and we were talking about him, we were talking about this option but obviously you cannot [buy] with the money available now.

"He has improved a lot and is doing a good job, he has an offensive team and he has an offensive mentality."

Newcastle have been dealt a blow however after it was confirmed by Benitez that influential midfielder Jonjo Shelvey would not be available to face his former club, while new signing Islam Slimani is still not match fit.

"Jonjo Shelvey has a knock to his knee and he will not be available. We are waiting on the results of the scan. We don't know how serious it is. He wants to train and play but we have to check.

"Slimani will continue to work with the physios and fitness coach in the gym. Dwight Gayle is the other one (injury concern) but he is fine. [Matt] Ritchie is also fine."