We take on Liverpool at St. James’ Park today and with a defeat last time out to Brighton, Benitez could make the odd change to his starting 11.
Here’s the team I have a sneaky suspicion we might see play against Liverpool today:
Benitez seems to be a big fan of Perez, but I’ve got a feeling Shelvey will start after doing his time and patiently waiting on the bench in recent weeks. Rafa admitted in his pre-match presser on Friday that Shelvey is an ‘important’ player for us, and his quality on the ball could be the difference if we use him right.
Joselu to be given another crack up top? Gayle doesn’t look sharp at the minute & Mitrovic will have to prove he can be trusted before Rafa starts him again. The Spaniard needs a goal and quickly for his confidence, but I have a feeling he might just click into gear IF he can find the net soon. I’d give him another shot and think his all round play has done enough to convince Rafa to do the same.
I’d like to see Shelvey & Merino partnered together soon, but think Benitez will want Hayden in the mix to offer that extra bit of protection against an attack minded Liverpool side.
Shelvey is one of few players in our team who has some cutting edge and I believe he has the ability to do more damage just ahead of a midfield duo than Perez has off the striker – with this deeper lying position than Perez normally takes up giving us the option to have three in midfield when Liverpool have the ball.
We shall see! Let us know your thoughts?