Gerrard slams 'mess' at Newcastle in positive prediction over future of Toon Army favourite
Former Liverpool star Steven Gerrard has said the boardroom at Newcastle United is a “mess” but that once it is sorted out there will be few questions about Rafael Benitez staying at the club.
The Magpies suffered a 2-0 defeat to the Reds on Saturday evening, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane grabbing the goals which saw Benitez and his men slip into 16th in the Premier League table, while Jurgen Klopp’s side were lifted into second, ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Crystal Palace.
Newcastle’s return to the Premier League has been a roller coaster on and off the field, with talks of a potential takeover dominating back pages across winter, while January was all about possible transfers, after a summer which saw reports claiming Benitez would be on his way out after being frustrated by the Magpies’ inability to secure his top targets.
Still at the club despite the media’s claims, Gerrard says it will remain that way for the foreseeable future, so long as the situation above him is rectified.
Speaking on BT Sports‘ coverage of the game (17:00, 03/03), he said: “The only way he will stay is if it gets sorted upstairs.
“If Rafa is right in what he says, there needs to be a takeover, a change or whatever.
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“If it happens I think he will stay because he’s got a genuine connection with the fans, he’s at a big club, he’s got a great support. But there’s a mess upstairs that needs to be sorted out.”
Benitez joined Newcastle in 2016 in a bid to prevent relegation, but despite slipping into the Championship, he remained to guide them back to the top flight as champions at the first time of asking.
Football Insider verdict
Newcastle fans will be hoping that Gerrard is right about Benitez, and will have their fingers, toes, and everything else crossed that a sale can be achieved in the summer, both to secure the Spaniard’s place in the dugout but also to get rid of owner Mike Ashley. The former Liverpool midfielder is probably correct in thinking that without change, there is little chance of Benitez remaining into next season, despite his contract running until 2019, and the thought of another manager like Alan Pardew or Steve McLaren stepping into the hole will have the Toon Army shuddering. Still, Premier League survival has got to be the priority, and they will have to start grinding out points against everyone they come up against.
In other Newcastle United news, Jamaal Lascelles has delivered his verdict on a moment which left Liverpool fans fuming.