Lucas Leiva looking forward to special Rafa Benitez Anfield return

Rafa Benitez takes his Newcastle United side to former club Liverpool at the weekend.

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has said he is looking forward to meeting Rafa Benitez again when the Reds take on Newcastle United at Anfield this weekend.

Benitez brings his Newcastle side to Anfield in the hope of aiding their bid for Premier League survival and could do with getting a win against his old club.

The Spaniard is well regarded at Anfield having masterminded Liverpool's Champions League triumph in 2005 as well as many other great European nights at the club. He also won the FA Cup, guided them to another Champions League final and led to them to a record points haul in the Premier League era in 2009, before he departed the club a year later.

Lucas, who was signed by Benitez in the summer of 2007 from Gremio, still has a lot of time for his former boss.

The midfielder told Sky Sports: "I have no doubt he will get a very good reception. He was very successful here and the fans appreciate what he did for the club.

"For me, it will be very special to meet him again because he was the manager who brought me here and who helped me a lot, especially in my first two seasons. So I will always be grateful."

The last time Benitez returned to Anfield managing the opposition was in 2013 when interim boss of Chelsea. He was warmly received by the home crowd ahead of a 2-2 draw - which is remembered more for Luis Suarez's bite on Branislav Ivanovic.

Lucas certainly has cause to be grateful to his old boss, not only for signing him but for having faith in him when there were more than a few that did not think he was of the standard required. Now, he is at the club as the longest serving player.

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