Omgång 37 av Premier League spelas i helgen och för Liverpool är det en resa norrut som står på schemat, Newcastle och Rafa Benitez ska ta emot oss på sin hemmaplan. Att möta Benitez är alltid speciellt, men den här gången är det såklart kampen om ligatiteln som står i fokus. Vi måste vinna för att fortsätta pressa Manchester City, vilket också betyder att vår gamle tränare kan bli den som krossar våra titeldrömmar. Jacob Jackmann(@JakeJackmann) har följt Newcastle i många år och berättar i dagens Q&A om sina tankar kring lagets säsong och kvällens match:
1. With two games left to play you are safe from relegation, how do you rate your season? Are you satisfied with the team?
It has been a mixed season, as it was last year. There has been progression, despite it looking likely that we will finish lower in the table. Ayoze Perez has been excellent and it is clear that Benitez continues to have a good influence on the development of individuals. The whole season has been clouded in uncertainty both in terms of ownership and the manager’s contract. I’d hope that this is our final year of fighting relegation.
2. Rafa Benitez, do you think he will stay at the club next season?
I’ve always been positive about our chances of keeping Benitez. I think he loves being Newcastle manager too much to walk away, even if he thinks it would be in his best interests. I guess its very much an abusive relationship in that regard. The recent noises have been positive and I think we’ll hear that he’s agreed an extension shortly after the season finishes.
3. What is your best and worst memory from the season?
There was no better feeling that beating Manchester City. They are the best club side I’ve seen in my lifetime and we managed to come from behind to beat them. It was a great night under the lights at St James’ Park. It was a reminder of what we could be.
In terms of a bad memory, there isn’t really one that sticks out. The loss to Brighton at home was bad, as it signalled another battle against the drop, but it was hardly a disaster.
4. What do you hope to see from the team during silly season? Which positions do you need to improve the most?
I think we need to sign a striker, hopefully that will be Rondon on a permanent contract. A new right back also needs to be high on the agenda, as neither Yedlin or Manquillo are up to standard. If Rafa stays, he’ll be pushing for improvements across the pitch.
5. Who is Newcastle’s player of the season?
Easily Fabian Schar. We signed him for £3m and he would go for 10 times that if we sold him this summer. He is assured at the back and quality on the ball. There are few better ball playing centre backs in the division. For anyone doubting that, seek out his three goals this season. They each display excellent technique.
6. What kind of game do you expect on saturday?
I think we can approach it with positivity. We have been excellent at home in 2019 and managed to beat Manchester City. We have nothing to lose and Liverpool’s recent record at St James’ Park isn’t great. If we can keep it tight, we have a great chance of getting something from the game.