City’s midfield powerhouse, Yaya Touré
Liverpool are fully confident going into Wednesday night’s clash with Manchester City, after beating Newcastle United 3-1 without their banned star Luis Suarez.
The Reds crushed Geordie hopes with goals by Craig Bellamy (two) and Steven Gerrard, who made an inspiring contribution off the substitute’s bench.
City, meanwhile, suffered a 1-0 loss to Sunderland who they dominated, but let slip in the dying seconds of the match.
City still lead the table by goal difference over Manchester United. They have 45 points while Liverpool are in position six with 34 points.
Roberto Mancini’s troops will be fired up for this clash at Etihad Stadium given that the gap has been closed slightly after their recent loss and draw.
Suddenly they are not looking as invincible as a few weeks ago, but in a round of action where City lost to Sunderland, Chelsea and Manchester United also lost while Tottenham Hotspur drew.
So no title rival really took advantage of City’s stumble.
Liverpool, however, feel they are still in a strong position and skipper Gerrard believes his side have got what it takes to start 2012 in style.
The Reds have so far secured five league victories on the road this season and Gerrard is hoping they can add to that tally.
“Bring it on. City are a fantastic team who have started the season really well, but we’ve got nothing to fear,” he said.
“We showed against them here a couple of weeks ago that we more than matched them.
“These are exciting games, we don’t fear these and these are the games as a player you want to play in. I can’t wait.”
Liverpool have a proud record of upsetting the big teams in England, often showing the kind of form that should see them challenging for honours. But it is against the so-called smaller clubs that Kenny Dalglish’s men have struggled.
Wednesday night promises to be a thrilling match between a Liverpool side on the up and a City side desperate to avenge their recent struggles.
Bellamy, coming up against his former team City, will be keen to carry on from the good form he showed in scoring a brace against Newcastle.
He will be one to watch and so too will Gerrard, who is expected to get a starting place.
For City, midfield powerhouse Yaya Toure will want to put in a big performance before he gets ready to join Ivory Coast teammates ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, which starts on January 18.