Former Liverpool boss Graeme Souness has backed Rafa Benitez to keep Newcastle United in the Premier League this season.
Newcastle host Liverpool on Sunday having won three of their opening six games following promotion from the Championship last term.
The Magpies are currently 7/1 to be relegated, but Souness believes Benitez will guide his team to safety.
“I think Newcastle will be all right,” Souness told the Mirror.
“And that’s only because in Rafa Benitez they have a top manager.
“He will have them organised and solid at the back — and that will be the basis for them to pick up enough points to guarantee safety.
“There will be some difficult moments. Scoring goals is obviously going to be a problem because at the moment the centre-half Jamaal Lascelles is their top goalscorer, and they aren’t going to be able to rely on him to score goals for the next nine months.
“Goalscorers cost fortunes and the club have not given Rafa the money to recruit one. But it was a big statement when he said he was staying with the club.
“Rafa is a proven winner. This is a different kind of challenge. But if he succeeds it will be a good one to add to the CV.”
Souness’ point about Newcastle’s lack of goals could be an issue for Benitez as the season progresses.
Six goals in six games is a worrying statistic for any team, but just five goals conceded is testament to Benitez’s organisational skills.
Signing a goalscorer in the January transfer window would help Newcastle’s cause this season, but they are in better shape than many Premier League teams at the moment and Souness’ prediction should prove to be accurate.