Mascherano: We need to find balance

Javier Mascherano has warned his Liverpool teammates against all-out attack in Sunday’s crucial Premier League clash at Manchester City.

Roberto Mancini’s side have lost four Premier League matches this season but all have been on their travels, with their tally at home being 30 points from a possible 36.

For that reason Mascherano insists Liverpool cannot under-estimate their opponents at Eastlands on Sunday.

But they should not be drawn into a scenario where they believe they have to beat fourth-placed City, who are one point ahead of the Reds with a match in hand in the race for the final Champions League spot, at all costs.

"We have to win but we cannot lose our heads," he said. "We have to go there thinking about winning but we have to play a very good game from the beginning.

"Obviously when you want to win you have to go forward but you have to be careful about the counter-attack because they have some very good players – so we have to be clever."

Mascherano believes Mancini, who replaced Mark Hughes in December, has turned City into a stronger outfit.

"I think from the arrival of Roberto Mancini has improved them a lot," he added. "They won a lot of games in a row, then they lost some points but it is positive for them so maybe they will be more organised, more clinical and more direct."

Meanwhile Rafael Benitez has dismissed suggestions the pressure is on Liverpool – as regular top-four finishers – to again secure a Champions League berth.

"Tottenham have spent some money, Aston Villa have spent some money, City have spent some money and we have spent some money so the pressure is on all of us," he said.

"City were trying [to break into the top four last year] when they spent some money – and this year a little bit more – and that means always you can bring in the best players or players with more quality."