Liverpool travel to Newcastle United tomorrow for their 37th Premier League game of the season, and leaving Saint James’ Park with all three points is a must if they are to have any hope of beating Manchester City to the title.
Doing so won’t come easy for the Reds, though, given how Magpies’ manager Rafa Benitez sets up his side defensively, and after handing league leaders City a shock defeat in January, the Spaniard will fancy his side’s chances against Jurgen Klopp’s men.
A Newcastle draw or win will almost certainly end Liverpool’s title ambitions, and while the club’s former defender Jamie Carragher isn’t sure Benitez wants Klopp to win the title, he reckons it isn’t out of bitterness, but possibly out of the Spaniard’s ambition to do so in the Reds’ dugout.
“I played six years under Rafa at Anfield and know how ambitious he is. It is difficult to believe he is still at Newcastle after being an established Champions League manager for so long,” Carragher told the Telegraph.
“It is unnatural for someone with his record of success to be at a club where staying up is the primary ambition. He has not given up on returning to the highest level.
“I am not sure Rafa will particularly want Klopp to win the title. Not because of any bitterness, but because deep down he will harbour ambitions of going back to Anfield one day and becoming the manager to end the Premier League drought.”
Benitez spent six years at Liverpool, helping them to one F.A Cup trophy and the Champions League.
He came close to leading the Reds to their first ever English Premier League title in 2008-09, but they could only emerge runner-up – four points behind eventual winners Manchester United.
Klopp is also close to breaking the jinx, but could end up losing the title to Pep Guardiola’s side by just a point should both sides win their next and last two games.
It remains to be seen if the German will be relieved of his position anytime soon given how much Liverpool have improved under him, but he has to win a trophy as soon as possible to prove he is actually capable of winning silverware for the club.