Liverpool plan to get at City
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish does not think last week's defeat to Manchester City will have any bearing on their two-legged League Cup semi-final. The Reds return to the Etihad Stadium tomorrow just eight days after they departed having lost 3-0 in the Premier League with a performance which was characterised by individual errors.
On that occasion Jose Reina gifted City the opening goal when he misjudged the flight of the ball and dived over the top of Sergio Aguero's long shot. Other lapses at the back allowed Yaya Toure to head in a corner before City, down to ten men after Gareth Barry's dismissal, broke away to add the goal which clinched three points from the penalty spot.
Liverpool put together some good passages of play but were chasing the game from the tenth minute and that played into their opponents' hands. Dalglish's side head back across the M62 expecting things to be different tomorrow.
Striker Luis Suarez is still suspended, as he was last week, but captain Steven Gerrard is expected to start. City, however, will be without influential duo Vincent Kompany, who begins a four-match ban for his red card at the weekend, and Yaya Toure, who is at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations. "We lost 3-0 and so we will look at it but I don't think it will be a reflection on the next two games coming up (against City)," said Dalglish of last week's result.
After the defeat the Reds boss said his side needed to learn valuable lessons about taking their chances - which has been a problem for them all season. Midfielder Jay Spearing believes the game taught the players a lot. "We know what we have to do better and we will be better," he told liverpoolfc.tv. "We will get at them right from the off and I still feel we can cause them a lot of problems. They are going to be two massive games and I don't see any reason why we can't make the final."
Former City striker Craig Bellamy came off the bench last week but could not effect a change in fortunes. He too believes Liverpool have every chance of getting the better of Roberto Mancini's side providing they can avoid giving themselves too much to do in a fortnight's time. "It's a two-legged match and we have to make sure we are still in the tie," he said. "We have the second leg at Anfield and this club knows all about two-legged games, so if we can get it back to Anfield still very much in the tie we will have a great chance of getting to Wembley."
"This club is used to getting to semi-finals and finals and all we can do is give it our best and see where it takes us. For me I didn't believe the 3-0 scoreline was quite correct and this is not just me with my Liverpool head on, but if I was watching the game as a neutral we had 66% possession which is a lot for an away side, especially against a team of Man City's calibre."
Liverpool have not won a trophy since the FA Cup in 2006 but now they are two matches away from a Wembley final and after their difficulties in recent seasons that would provide a major boost. It makes the clashes against City - for whom the League Cup is third on their list of priorities - hugely significant as this is a tournament Dalglish targeted as one they could win.
"This is why you play for Liverpool and this is what it brings," added Bellamy on liverpoolfc.tv. "It's not just playing Man United (whom they have drawn in the next round of the FA Cup) or Man City, it's when you travel anywhere because we are expected to win."