Richard Keys gives Sunderland survival verdict, comments on Rafael Benitez

Richard Keys praises Newcastle United for their performance against Liverpool and backs Sunderland to stay in the Premier League.

Well-known sports presenter Richard Keys has written on his website that Sunderland will not get relegated to the Championship at the end of the season.

Keys believes that the Black Cats will retain their Premier League status for the 2016-17 campaign.

The former Sky Sports presenter, though, has suggested that Newcastle will go down to the Championship, but he has praised the Magpies for picking up a point against Liverpool at the weekend.

Rafael Benitez’s side came from two goals to draw 2-2 with the Reds away from home at Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

“The Toon got a really good point at Anfield,” Keys wrote on his website. “As you know, he's not my favourite, but Benitez is on a really tidy run - five points from nine - and it makes you wonder what might have happened had he gone in sooner. Fair play to him. Having said that I still fancy Sunderland to get out of it.”

Aston Villa have already been relegated to the Championship, and there is a very good chance that both Newcastle and Norwich City will join them in the second tier of English football history.

The Magpies and the Canaries are in the bottom three, while Sunderland are just a place above the relegation zone.

The fact that Newcastle have played a game more than the Black Cats and Norwich will count against them in their quest to stave off relegation to the Championship.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch