Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Return to Liverpool extra special for Benitez

SoccerNews in English Premier League 14 Jun 2017

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Rafael Benitez is looking forward to taking his Newcastle United side to Anfield to face former club Liverpool following the Premier League fixtures release on Wednesday.

The Spaniard managed Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, leading the club to Champions League and FA Cup glory during his spell on Merseyside.

Newcastle face Liverpool at St James’ Park on September 30 before travelling to Anfield on March 3, with Benitez excited by the reunion.

“Obviously I look forward to the two games with Liverpool,” Benitez told the Newcastle website. “Those days will be extra special for me, but really every game is exciting and every game has its own challenges.

“It will be nice, too, to come up against Chris Hughton and his Brighton side again this season. This will be Brighton’s first time in the Premier League and the way both our clubs performed in the Championship will make it a special game, I think.”

Benitez led Newcastle to the Championship title last season and their reward is a home game against Tottenham on the opening weekend of the campaign.

Newcastle hammered Spurs 5-1 in their last Premier League match, despite Aleksandar Mitrovic’s red card, but Benitez is not expecting a similar result when last season’s runners-up visit.

“It’s always exciting to see the new fixtures and, like the fans, it’s something we all look forward to,” Benitez added. “It’s a great start at home to Tottenham and a really exciting first game at St James’ Park for our fans to enjoy.

“We will all have extra motivation for that game, but it will be a very tough start too because Spurs showed how good they are last season. Of course they were our last Premier League opponents here too, which was a memorable match for everyone, but this time around it will be completely different.

“After Spurs I think then we have a good run of games and I’m pleased to see it’s quite a balanced list in terms of the teams we’re up against.

“The fans will enjoy being at home to Manchester City on Boxing Day. It is always nice for fans to enjoy games against top teams over the Christmas period.

“We also have a great game to round off the season with Chelsea visiting us on the last day of the season.”

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