We don't fear trip to Manchester City, says Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers

• Rodgers tells City: it's your title to lose
• City can claim ninth successive home league win

Brendan Rodgers has said the Boxing Day visit to Manchester City holds no fear for Liverpool despite his belief that the Premier League title is City's to lose.

Manuel Pellegrini's side enjoy an unblemished home record in the league, winning all eight games at the Etihad Stadium with a remarkable return of 35 goals, an average of 4.37 goals per game.

City have put six goals past Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the past month but with Liverpool boasting the second-highest goals tally in the Premier League, the competition's finest player in Luis Suárez and a one-point lead over City, Rodgers insists there will be no trepidation at the Etihad Stadium.

"We arrive there with no fear," said Liverpool's manager. "We outplayed Manchester City last year, home and away. We had two draws and we should have won both games but we will go there with every respect for them. I believe with the squad they have, it is their title to lose.

"For us, we will go there and play our game. We will go there and be aggressive and to press the football. We had 23 shots on goal against Cardiff [on Saturday]. They will have seen from Cardiff and from Tottenham [whom Liverpool beat 5-0 at White Hart Lane this month], that we can score goals."

The outstanding form of Suárez, who took his total to 19 goals in 12 games with a double in the 3-1 defeat of Cardiff, is central to Liverpool's confidence at City.

Rodgers revealed his belief that City are not unbeatable at home in the Premier League grew after attending Bayern Munich's 3-1 win at the Etihad in the Champions League in October.

Rodgers, who took several Liverpool players with him to see that group game, said: "Bayern played with a three-quarter press [as Liverpool did at Tottenham]. They played with a controlling midfielder. Man City played 4-4-2, which was surprising on the night. They played two centre-forwards. Bayern had a holding midfielder, they had the quality and they got a result in the end."

Liverpool went top of the Premier League at the weekend and Rodgers accepts expectations will soar further at Anfield should his team halt City's winning streak at home. "That is something we can't control. All we can control is our game," he said. "This is a brilliant match-up. We have been in real good form, developing our football idea all the time. We go to a team that is full of quality players. It should make for a great game."

Pellegrini believes Liverpool have announced their title credentials regardless of the result on Boxing Day and has not discounted Tottenham or eighth-placed Manchester United from being in contention come the run-in.

"I always think that every team has the chance to win the Premier League," he said. "The Premier League is not only Liverpool and Manchester City. Tottenham will continue fighting. Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton are playing good football and will fight for the title until the end."

Pellegrini also insists he will be making no particular arrangements to deal with Suárez as the Uruguay international looks to break the 20-goal barrier before the new year. City's manager said: "He is in a very good moment. He has always been a very good striker but Liverpool is not only Suárez. They are a very good team, it will be a tough game and we hope we can continue winning at home.

"There are no special plans for Suárez. He is a player that is in a good moment but we must continue playing the same way at home. We are not playing against Liverpool thinking of Luis Suárez. We are playing against Liverpool thinking we must repeat what we are doing at home."

City have two home games over the festive period, whereas Liverpool, Arsenal and United have two away fixtures, but Pellegrini has criticised the decision to schedule Crystal Palace's visit for Saturday when other contenders play on Sunday.

He said: "I don't know if the word is ridiculous but playing 46 hours from one game to another is not the best thing for the players. They cannot recover in 46 hours.

"All the teams must have the same rest. Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool all play on the 26th and 29th. And we play 26th and 28th. It's not fair, it should be the same for all teams."

comments powered by Disqus