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Benitez points to Liverpool defense as deficient

Newcastle United v Stoke City - Premier League

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez reacts during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Stoke City at St. James Park on September 16, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has likened the Liverpool defense as a necessary deficiency with their prolific attack.

Benitez says that the Magpies will need to keep up with Liverpool when they host the Reds at St. James Park on Saturday. The Spaniard pointed to the Reds defense that has conceded 11 league goals this season, two off the league-worst number.

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“The reality is that because they are so offensive, they have sometimes problems in defense,” Benitez said in his pre-match press conference. “I have talked in the past about the short blanket - if you cover your head, your feet are cold; if you cover your feet, your head is cold. Sometimes when you attack too much, you are exposed in defense and to find the balance is the key to have chances to win titles. I think they are working on that and still I think they will be very dangerous attacking even if they make some mistakes in defense.”

Despite conceding 11 goals in six Premier League matches, the Reds do have a pair of clean sheets, coming back-to-back against Crystal Palace and Arsenal. The defense has struggled at times, but the number is inflated by the 5-0 debacle against Manchester City in early September.

On the other end, Liverpool has scored 12 goals this season, with nine more in four Champions League matches.

Benitez did address his previous time at Liverpool, saying it’s not a distraction as he takes on his former club.

“I have a lot of positive relationships with the fans, so I have very good memories and it will be very emotional. But at the same time, we’ll try our best and we will try to win.”

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