Rodgers relishes City challenge, Wenger says top four finish difficult


Liverpoolboss Brendan Rodgers has claimed that his side is ready for the title challenge and thinks there will be more pressure on Manchester City as the two Premier League title rivals prepare to meet next weekend.


Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool will be “fearless” against Manchester City when the two sides clash next weekend in the Premier League.

The Reds returned to the top of the table with a hard-fought 2-1 win over West Ham at Upton Park on Sunday. Rodgers’ side are two points ahead of Chelsea and four above third-placed City. However, Manuel Pellegrini’s team have two games in hand ahead of their potentially title deciding trip to Anfield.

“They have invested to win the Premier League and the Champions League,” Rodgers said in a press conference.

“They will be looking to get a result next Sunday. For us, we are just going to enjoy it. We know it’s a big game. But in the big games this season, we’ve tended to do well.”

Rodgers’ side are the only top-flight team yet to lose a league match in 2014, putting together an unbeaten run of 14 games.

However, the Northern Irishman do not have an encouraging record against the Citizens. Rodgers has yet to beat City since taking charge at Anfield in June 2012, with both of last season’s league meetings ending 2-2 before Liverpool were beaten 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day this term.

The Liverpool manager said: “The mentality here is to be fearless. We will respect the opposition, but it’s about ourselves.

“We give young players a chance and there’s no pressure on them. I will take the pressure.

“Our aim is to focus on the ball and the team. If we do that, it will take us a long way.”

Arsene Wenger

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says it will be difficult for the Gunners to finish in top four, after the Gunners suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat at the Goodison Park.

“Until the Liverpool match [when Arsenal were beaten 5-1] we were very convincing away from home but psychologically we have lost a bit of confidence. Today we were behind early. We had a lot of the ball but weren’t really dangerous,” said the Frenchman as quoted by The Times.

“Everton defended well and we lack a bit of confidence to be dangerous, as well as penetration. The incisiveness of our game is missing. That makes a difference. I wouldn’t question the spirit of this team because they want to do well, but they have lost something of the confidence.

“We looked a bit disjointed when we had to chase the score. I don’t know if there’s a fear amongst the players, I’d just say our big defeats away have taken a bit of the charisma away from the team. But I am 100 per cent determined to fight to make top four but it will be difficult.”

It was Everton’s sixth consecutive victory and the Toffees are now just one point behind Arsenal, with a game in hand.

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