Clarke confident of matching City

However, Clarke admits the options City have at their disposal

presents a significant challenge as the Reds look to extend their

unbeaten run. The Premier League leaders have dropped just two

points in 12 matches this season and are five clear of neighbours

Manchester United ahead of this weekend’s fixtures. Even though

they suffered a disappointing Champions League defeat to Napoli in

midweek, such is the depth of quality in City’s squad manager

Roberto Mancini can make wholesale changes to his line-up without

drastically weakening the team. Nevertheless, Clarke believes

Liverpool, who have not lost in nine matches in all competitions,

can match their big-spending visitors if they put in a performance

like the one which brought victory at Chelsea last weekend.

“They’re top of the league and they’re top of the league on merit,”

he said. “They’ve only dropped two points but we look forward to

the challenge. “I don’t think they have a main threat – they have a

number of top-quality players, all capable of causing a problem.

“It’s up to us as a team and as individual players to handle that

threat and if we do that we’ll be okay. “We try to prepare our

players and the way we want them to play. “We feel if we can

perform to our maximum, and the players can all perform to their

maximum on the day, we can give any team in the Premier League a

game.” The result at Stamford Bridge was just the confidence boost

the players needed ahead of facing City, who were defeated 3-0 at

Anfield last season. Liverpool’s home form has been disappointing

with only two wins from six matches and with their last two outings

on Merseyside resulting in draws against newcomers Norwich and

Swansea. But Clarke echoed the comments of manager Kenny Dalglish

when he said they could not look at the Chelsea result as being any

more significant than any other game. “I’m not so sure it’s going

to kick-start anything,” he told liverpoolfc.tv. “You just have to

take every game as it comes. “We’ve dropped points at home we feel

disappointed to have dropped them but we can’t do anything about

that now. “We have to look at the next game, we have to attack it

with relish and try to get the win we need.” Captain Steven Gerrard

is still out with an ankle infection which has sidelined him for a

month but the only other absentee in Dalglish’s squad is teenage

left-back Jack Robinson. Last week the Scot dropped winger Stewart

Downing to the bench after 11 successive Premier League starts and

also among the substitutes at Chelsea were Jamie Carragher,

returning from injury, Andy Carroll and Jordan Henderson. Dalglish

is likely to keep changes to a minimum but may opt to bring a

couple of those players back on Sunday.