Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp speaks on Rafael Benitez return

Rafa Benitez

Jurgen Klopp likes Spanish counterpart Rafael Benitez.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has told BBC Sport that he likes Newcastle United counterpart Rafael Benitez, stating he has no problem with fans praising him on his Anfield return today.

The Spaniard, who spent five years as Reds manager, winning the Champions League in 2005, will return to the club as an opposition coach this afternoon as the Magpies look to boost their hopes of avoiding Premier League relegation.

The 56-year-old is expected to be given a good reception by his former fans, despite leaving the Merseyside club under something of a cloud back in 2010, and Klopp insists that he has no problem if the supporters want to celebrate Benitez's return.

"I like Rafa," Klopp said to BBC Sport. "We met each other a few times at a UEFA meeting. He's a very successful manager, nice person, and I really like him.

"From my point of view, if somebody wants to celebrate Rafa - he was one of the most successful managers ever at Liverpool - then they're very welcome. I don't care about this. If they want to be louder than they've ever been then that's absolutely okay."

 

Benitez might have preferred to return in slightly more comfortable circumstances, but Newcastle need all three points.

 

United sit 19th in the Premier League table, two points behind 17th-placed Norwich City with just four games left in which to preserve their top-flight status.

 

Liverpool fans will testify to Benitez's capacity to produce miracles, following the club's stunning come-from-behind Champions League triumph against AC Milan 11 years ago, but time is running out at Newcastle.

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