Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey will be out of the clash against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday, according to Magpies manager Rafa Benitez.

The former Reds ace was widely criticised for his role as the side conceded two late goals last time out in the Premier League against Bournemouth, when three points looked assured.

Shelvey was quoted as saying he was looking forward to a return to his old side but that now looks unlikely given the Spanish manager’s pre-match press conference comments, confirming the player “will miss” the game.

Benitez also revealed that January transfer window loan signing Islam Slimani would miss the fixture but is continuing work in the gym.

There was better news in the form of striker Dwight Gayle who has been passed fit and similarly winger Matt Ritchie, after the two were thought to be doubts for the game.

The duo will need to be on top form if they are going to apply any pressure on a much-improved Liverpool defence.

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Bolstered by the arrival of Virgil van Dijk, both Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren have shown a confidence at the back that had previously been lacking.

Newcastle are just two points above Swansea City in the relegation zone and will know that maximum points at this stage of the season are necessary but it will be a tough ask for Benitez’ floundering side.

In other Newcastle United news, ‘An absolute joy and honour’ – Lejeune blown away by one man at St James’ Park.

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