Rafa wary of danger posed by City

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is wary of Manchester City’s quality,

despite expressing his relief that Carlos Tevez will miss Sunday’s

showdown.

The Argentina international, who Liverpool tried to sign in

the summer, is currently in his homeland on compassionate leave

after his wife gave birth prematurely.

And while he will not feature in a clash which could have a

major bearing on who finishes fourth in the Premier League, Benitez

is aware there are many other players who can hurt his side.

“Clearly he is a good player who is doing well,” said the

Spaniard of the 19-goal striker.

“But they have other good strikers, so I think they have

enough quality in the squad and can replace Tevez with another good

player.

“If Tevez is not there and they miss him we will be pleased,

but I will say again, they have quality.”

Tevez’s international team-mate Javier Mascherano knows

exactly what the striker offers but expects City to be able to cope

without him.

“He is a really good player but Manchester City have a lot of

really good players so if he doesn’t play, they will use a player

who will try to do the same as him,” said the Argentina captain.

“They are a top side with some really good players. I think

it will be a really important game and will be a good game to

watch.”

Benitez has tried to play down the significance of the match,

with City currently occupying the final Champions League spot one

point ahead of Liverpool and with a match in hand.

He believes there is plenty of time remaining in the season

for things to change significantly – especially with Tottenham and

Aston Villa also challenging.

“It will be an important game for both teams and we will try

to win,” he said.

“If you cannot, it is better not to lose, but the main thing

for us is to try to win.

“We will try to attack and we know we will have to score

goals if we want to win.

“They are an attacking team and we will have to attack too,

so I think it will be open.”

Mascherano also believes that one match will not decide the

Champions League fate of either side.

“We are one point behind them and some teams are very close

to us so it’s important to get the three points,” said the

midfielder.

“I think it’s an important game but if any team lost, nothing

will happen.

“There are still a lot of games to play so it will be an

important game but it will decide nothing.”

The side will have been lifted by last night’s 1-0 victory

over Unirea Urziceni, having seen their seven-match unbeaten

Barclays Premier League run ended by Arsenal last week.

Vice-captain Jamie Carragher singled out the impact of

substitutes Ryan Babel and Daniel Pacheco, with the former crossing

for his team-mate to head across goal for David Ngog to score with

nine minutes to go.

“Ryan and Dani did very well when they came on and made a big

contribution for the goal,” said the defender.

“They gave us a bit of a lift and more energy and that’s what

we needed. They made the difference.

“It would have been nice to get a few more but hopefully we

can get an away goal and finish the game off next week.”

Highly-rated reserve team striker Pacheco was making only his

third appearance for the senior side, but the young Spaniard hopes

to be able to play a bigger part in the remainder of the season.

“I was very happy to get involved with the game and help the

team out and I think everyone was quite happy at the end,” said the

19-year-old.

“It is always a good thing when the manager is talking about

you but I know I have to keep working, keep listening and doing my

best for the reserves.

“I’ve got to keep my feet on the floor. I hope I will get

more chances in the future and do the same again.

“We can now think about Manchester City. If I get a chance

again, I hope I will take it but we will see what happens.”