League title is in 'fearless' Liverpool's hands, claims Brendan Rodgers

• Manager says Liverpool are mentally ready for Manchester City
• Claims his youngsters are tough enough for title run-in

Brendan Rodgers has promised that Liverpool will show no fear against Manchester City next Sunday after they found a way past a stubborn West Ham side at Upton Park to secure their ninth successive victory and move back to the top of the league.

Two penalties from Steven Gerrard, either side of Guy Demel's controversial equaliser, were enough for Liverpool in a match stalked by debatable refereeing decisions from Anthony Taylor. However, Liverpool proved their character by surviving the physical test posed by Sam Allardyce's side and ensured their quest to win the league for the first time since 1990 remains in their hands. Victory moved them two points in front of Chelsea and four ahead of City, and Rodgers's young side will be champions if they win their final five matches.

That is a tall order given that they still have home fixtures against City and Chelsea left. Yet Rodgers insisted that his side will handle the pressure against City.

"I thought it was interesting to hear Vincent Kompany talk about we are the best team they have played," Rodgers said. "We should have won at the Etihad this season, we should have won there last season but drew 2-2. We should have beaten them at home. We were 2-1 up, then made a mistake and it was two-each so the team we have put together, the mentality is to be fearless.

"It doesn't matter who we play. We have to respect them as they have world-class players but it's about ourselves and the confidence we have to play and for the youngsters to enjoy it. There is no pressure on them. Just go and play and whatever pressure we will take. The most important thing is to focus on the ball and team and not yourselves, and when you do that it will take you a long way."

West Ham felt that the decision to award Liverpool a second penalty after 71 minutes, when Adrián caught Jon Flanagan, was harsh. However, Rodgers disagreed and pointed out that Demel's goal should have been ruled out for what was a clear foul on their goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet, by Andy Carroll.

"I don't want to get fined so I don't want to say too much," Rodgers said. "It was a difficult game. When you play against West Ham I think the referees get called into more decisions because of the nature of West Ham's style. It is very physical and they are asked a lot of questions.

"After the goal he gave for West Ham he was maybe chasing the game after that because it was clearly not a goal. We should have been 1-0 at half-time. But it is never easy for referees. It is easy to sit here and say they're weren't so good.

"We got a couple of decisions I thought were penalties. The first one was clear. The second one, if you analyse it, we've got the reward for our enterprise and committing bodies forward. Flanagan makes a great run in, Lucas plays a wonderful pass and if you look at it, especially in slow motion, Jon gets a touch to go past the keeper. The keeper gets a little nudge with his elbow on the ball but as Jon is going past him he catches his foot, so he goes over. As the manager who gets it you are pleased but if you are the other manager it is probably a bit contentious."

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