Rafa Benitez sends Newcastle warning to Liverpool & Man United amid Champions League battle

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Rafa Benitez believes Newcastle United have what it takes to remain inside the Premier League top four come the end of the season.

Rafa Benitez has warned Liverpool and Manchester United that Newcastle United have the qualities to see out Champions League qualification.

With both the Magpies and Man United tied on 66 points, Liverpool moved one point behind the Premier League top four after beating Leicester City 3-0 on Monday night.

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Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are heavily tipped to win their remaining two fixtures against Aston Villa and Southampton, which would require Newcastle and the Red Devils to claim six points from their three games left to play.

Eddie Howe’s men host back-to-back home games against Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester City - starting with the former on Thursday night - before travelling to Chelsea on the final day of the season.

Meanwhile, Erik ten Hag’s side visit Bournemouth on Saturday before ending the campaign by welcoming Chelsea and Fulham to Old Trafford.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville reckons Newcastle are more likely to drop out of the top four than Man United but former boss Benitez believes Howe’s side have got what it takes to keep their composure and finish the job.

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Former Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)Former Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Former Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) | Getty Images

“It’s massive for both [Liverpool & Newcastle],” Benitez told Sky Sports. “Everybody knows that to be in the Champions League, to be in Europe means a lot of money coming in and then you can sign better players because they have the extra motivation to play in Europe.

“I think obviously now Newcastle United have the advantage, but you never know. Liverpool are doing really well now but I think Newcastle United has the belief, the intensity, the organisation and the balance that is necessary to get some points and stay there.”

Finishing inside the top four would seal a first Champions League campaign since Sir Bobby Robson was in charge in 2003/04.

“Can they stay there for a while? We will see,” Benitez said. “Obviously this year two or three teams were not at the level everyone expected. But now they are there and have the finances to stay there, I think they can compete in the future. The fans will be delighted.”

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