Brendan Rodgers feels Liverpool’s recent displays against Manchester City may give them an edge in next week’s vital Premier League clash.
Liverpool returned to the top of the table with a hard-fought 2-1 win over West Ham at Upton Park on Sunday – Steven Gerrard scoring a penalty in each half as a number of decisions made by referee Anthony Taylor came under the microscope.
Rodgers’ side are two points ahead of Chelsea and four above third-placed City, although Manuel Pellegrini’s team have two games in hand ahead of their potentially pivotal trip to Anfield.
Speaking on BBC‘s ‘Match of the Day’ programme on Saturday, City captain Vincent Kompany labelled Liverpool as the strongest team he has come across this season.
That caught Rodgers’ attentions and, although he is yet to beat City as Liverpool boss, he is buoyed by three near misses.
“I thought it was interesting to hear Vincent Kompany talk about (how) we’re the best team that they’ve played,” said the former Swansea City manager, who saw Kompany net an equaliser after Philippe Coutinho had opened the scoring in a 2-1 Etihad Stadium defeat on Boxing Day.
“We should have won at the Etihad this season. We should have won there last season and drew 2-2. We should have beaten them at home (last season) – we were 2-1 up and made a mistake and it was 2-2.
“The team we’ve put together, the mentality is to be fearless. It doesn’t matter who we play.
“We have to respect them because they’ve got world-class players but it’s about ourselves and the confidence that we have to play.
“For the youngsters, they’ll embrace it and enjoy it – there’s no pressure. Just go and play and whatever pressure there is, I will take.
“The most important thing is focus on the ball and the team and not yourself. When you do that it’ll take you a long way.”
Rodgers, who guided Swansea to a 1-0 win over City in the latter’s 2011-12 title-winning season is under no illusions that his players will face formidable opposition next week but is determined to enjoy the occasion.
“They’ve spent money and what they’ve done in the last couple of years has been fantastic,” he said of City.
“I think they’re a wonderful football club that’s invested and invested well in top players.
“But they’ve invested to win the league and to win the Champions League. So, for them, they’ll be looking to come to Anfield and get a result.
“For us, I think it’s a wonderful place to play. We’re just going to enjoy it and in all the big games this year, in the main, we’ve done really well.
“The concentration for me is on the next training session. We’ll recover tomorrow and then we’ll go again.”
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