After all, Peter Crouch was hardly the first name on the team-sheet during the Spaniard’s spell in charge of Liverpool. The beanpole striker enjoyed his most prolific season with The Reds in 2006/07 but still started just 30 games in all competitions.
During his seven years at Anfield, Benitez preferred quick, incisive centre-forwards like Craig Bellamy or Fernando Torres – a trait that appears to have continued at Newcastle with Dwight Gayle chosen ahead of Mitrovic through the entirety of last season.
Therefore, reports that Newcastle are still tracking Danny Ings after having a loan bid rejected by Liverpool in the summer, per The Shields Gazette, should come as little surprise.
The one-time England international, after all, is the sort of striker that Benitez traditionally likes. He’s fleet-footed, hard-working and blessed with wily movement inside the penalty area rather than an old-school targetman in the shape of Mitrovic.
Furthermore, although signing Ings would be a major risk considering that he has not played a league game since 2015/16 due to another serious knee injury, the 25-year-old is still proven in the Premier League on the back of that impressive 11-goal debut campaign with Burnley in 2014/15.
And he appears a far better fit for a Benitez side on paper than Newcastle’s out-of-favour Serbian frontman.
According to The Mirror, Brighton sent scouts to watch Mitrovic over the international break. And you get the feeling Benitez would happily let him leave if he could sign Ings in his place.