Former Liverpool defender Phil Babb has urged Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez to adopt better tactics and stop complaining about the lack of funds at the club.

The Magpies were comfortably beaten 4-0 by Liverpool on Boxing Day, and are just five points above the relegation zone, having collected 17 points from 19 games so far.

Benitez has often missed out on his transfer targets at Newcastle, but Babb believes the Spaniard should get on with it and follow other examples of clubs that are doing well on small budgets.

Babb has also pointed out that Benitez made the mistake of not starting with Salomon Rondon against Liverpool, as the striker has a bigger presence in the box, and could have tested Jurgen Klopp’s side at Anfield.

Babb said on LFC TV, following the game: “It would be nice if he had an open cheque book, but he's not going to get it, so why harp on about it?

“You've got to play the cards you're dealt.

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“There are other teams with smaller budgets or the same amount, who have done well with their transfer business, and that play a certain way of football that might get them out of trouble.

“Rafa has just got to get on with it.

“Tactically he's got to be more cute. OK, he drops Rondon, but why drop him?

“He's the one who is scoring goals, he's going to give them [the Liverpool defenders] a battle, he's a powerful presence and the way you're set up, with balls into the box, he probably would have scored that chance that Joselu had from six yards.

“So there's little tactical things that he can do."

And Babb admits he is concerned by Newcastle, who he feels look like a side devoid of confidence.

“But watching Newcastle I don't see any real pattern or anything.

“There's so many chins down on the chest they looked like a broken team as soon as they stepped out on the pitch."

Newcastle finish the year with an away game against Watford, and will then host Manchester United in their first game of 2019.