Stewie: Reds up for City clash

The unbeaten 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 the club’s official website: “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.”