Downing: Reds do not fear City
Winger Stewart Downing insists Liverpool are not in the habit of making big statements but believes the visit of Manchester City holds no fear for Kenny Dalglish’s side.
The unbeaten Barclays Premier League leaders arrive at Anfield as the top flight’s top scorers, with their array of attacking talent having torn apart numerous defences this season.
However, they suffered a morale-sapping Champions League defeat against Napoli in midweek and with Liverpool buoyant having won at Chelsea last weekend, Downing said the squad’s confidence is high but their arrogance is not.
"I think we should look forward to it and say ‘Why can’t we be the first team to beat them?"’ he said.
"It’s a great incentive for us. Obviously they are coming off a defeat in Napoli so they will be right up for it.
"They are a top team with many, many great players, not just in the 11 but on the bench.
"We are going to have to be right up for it and start well. If we don’t they will punish you, which they have shown against the top teams this season."
Downing added on liverpoolfc.tv: "It has the makings of a cracking game. We are at home at Anfield so I’m confident we can get a result.
"But we have belief in our own ability and confidence is flying, especially the way we won the game (against Chelsea) because it was difficult circumstances in the second half and we nicked it right at the end.
"Training has been really intense and we are really looking forward to the game.
"Inside the club we have the belief that we have a really good team but we have quietly gone about our business and got some good results.
"We made a big statement on Sunday by beating Chelsea on their home turf and they don’t lose there very often.
"We are going about our work quietly and that’s the best way to do it."
Liverpool won this fixture 3-0 last April, with Andy Carroll getting off the mark for his new club with two goals.
Dalglish admits his side had some good fortune in that match and, in the intervening months, City have strengthened their squad further.
The Scot does not believe, however, that Roberto Mancini has had to make many changes to turn his side into title favourites.
"Last season Carlos Tevez came off after 20 minutes with a pulled hamstring which helped us a bit more than it helped them," he said.
"We played well and got our rewards but in terms of this game they have got different personnel and so have we, so it might not be the same type of game.
"I don’t think there was much to change in them. Obviously there is a fantastic change for them in the results they have got.
"Their style hasn’t changed, their principles haven’t changed. Bringing in certain individuals has maybe just altered it a little bit.
"They have won their games and when they have got their noses in front they have punished teams.
"They played fantastically at Tottenham (winning 5-1) and at Old Trafford (beating Manchester United 6-1) so maybe they’re due a bad one – let’s keep our fingers crossed.
"We know what to expect but we’ll give them the due respect, go through our background reports and make sure we get ourselves right.
"We’ll decide what is best for us and let them worry about us more than we worry about them but, at the same time, we respect and appreciate how good they are."