By Russell Edge

23rd Sep, 2017 | 7:07pm

Benitez gives definitive update on return of important first teamer

By Russell Edge

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has stated that Florian Lejeune will be back in contention for the Magpies’ clash with Liverpool after missing their trip to Brighton on Sunday.

The French defender has been out of action since a lunging tackle from Tottenham’s Harry Kane saw him limp off in the opening match of the season, in which he was making his competitive debut.

The summer signing from Eibar had been keeping club captain Jamaal Lascelles out of the side but the 23-year-old has returned in outstanding form at both ends of the pitch.

However, the former Nottingham Forest man will have more competition in just over a week with Benitez confirming the injury setback to Lejeune is minor.

Benitez told the Chronicle: “He was available but he is still feeling a little bit of discomfort in his ankle after the Tottenham game.

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“We want him to recover, and we want him fully fit.

“He will get some treatment and he will be available for the next game.

“It’s not too serious, it’s just discomfort and we don’t want to take any risks.”

Lejeune is an important member of the first team squad, and is one of four centre backs available to Benitez, although Chancel Mbemba is covering at left back.

The Frenchman was one of two defenders to see themselves forced out of the Tottenham match, with left back Paul Dummett also limping off.

The duo are joined by full back Massadio Haidara in the treatment room, with Benitez confirming that the rest of the first team squad are fully fit.

A win away at Brighton on Sunday would see the Magpies return to fourth place in the table, leapfrogging Watford and Tottenham, while extending their winning streak to four matches.

In other Newcastle United news, Benitez has given a hint as to the future of Jonjo Shelvey in the starting XI.

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