Jonjo Shelvey
Shelvey will be left out against Liverpool as a precaution as the club await news of a scan on a knee problem. Getty Images

Newcastle United will be without midfielder Jonjo Shelvey for the visit to the England international's former club Liverpool on Saturday (3 March)] due to a knee injury but leading scorer Dwight Gayle is available after a hamstring scare.

Twenty-six-year-old Shelvey played the full 90 minutes against Bournemouth last weekend but after the club confirmed he has suffered a knee problem at the Vitality Stadium he was sent for a scan to determine the extent of the damage.

And as Newcastle await the results of that assessment Shelvey will not be risked for his return to Anfield, where he played between 2010 and 2013.

Striker Dwight Gayle is available however having trained this week after being substituted in the 2-2 draw at Bournemouth with a tight hamstring, while Matt Ritchie is also fit having battled illness this week.

Defender Jesus Gamez is also missing, according to multiple sources including The Daily Telegraph, due to a long-term ankle injury which has kept him side-lined since October. On-loan Leicester City hitman Islam Slimani remains out with a thigh injury which he re-aggravated in training last week.

"Jonjo Shelvey has a knock to his knee and he will not be available," Benitez, whose Newcastle side are just two points above the drop zone, told a pre-match press conference ahead of the Liverpool game, according to The Chronicle.

"We are waiting on the results of the scans. We don't know how serious it is. He wants to train and play but we have to check. Gayle is fine, Ritchie is fine. Slimani is working hard to regain his fitness in training."

After 11 Premier League games without finding the net, Gayle ended that barren run with a first half double for Newcastle at Bournemouth last weekend before the Cherries secured a late draw thanks to Adam Smith and Dan Gosling's goals.

Despite having only netted five times this term – Chelsea and Manchester United are among his victims – Gayle is Newcastle's highest scorer and admits he has been forced to change his game to adapt to the demands of the top flight.

"I'm fine," he told nufc.co.uk. "I've been training all week. It was just a precautionary one. I didn't want to make it any worse. But I'm all ready to go now.

"Obviously with Rafa he knows the teams you've scored against and I've had a good run against them.

"They're in fine form, we know what we're going to be up against. We need to have focus and be defensively secure.

"I'd been in a bit of a bad run and I needed to get back to scoring goals and helping the team and hopefully I can continue that through to the end of the season now.

"I've had to adapt my game a little bit. The Premier League is a lot harder. It's going to be harder to get chance."