City aim to exploit Reds uncertainty
Manchester City head to Liverpool tonight insisting it is not mission impossible to claim a place in the League Cup final.
City trail from the first leg a fortnight ago and are likely to be without Mario Balotelli through suspension, in addition to Vincent Kompany, plus Yaya and Kolo Toure, who are on CAF Africa Cup of Nations duty.
Yet Blues winger Adam Johnson believes the Reds' 1-0 advantage will create an uncertainty City have the players to exploit.
He said: "It's a tricky one for them. Do they try to attack us or try to defend against our quality players for 90 minutes? The thing is no matter who we play, we will create chances at some point. We beat them 3-0 at home, so we can score against them.
"No-one is expecting us to go through so the pressure is off for once and we can go there with freedom, play our football and have a go. It won't be easy but we are quietly confident."
The added advantage for City is that they have fresh memories of winning trophies. And, as Johnson revealed, the euphoria of that FA Cup final victory at Wembley last May has created an insatiable appetite for silverware.
"When you have won something you shouldn't just be content with that. It should drive you on even more," said Johnson. "That's why you see the top players walk away with so many medals at the end of their careers.
"I don't want to be happy just because I have an FA Cup medal. Even if we win the Premier League, I will strive for more. With the players we have, we want to do it again and again. That is the mentality we are developing."
It is one of the positive spin-offs of being at a club that has advanced so quickly. Even in the two years since Johnson arrived in a £7 million deal from Middlesbrough to become Roberto Mancini's first signing, the progress has been breathtaking.
"Manchester City was already a massive club when I signed but in the two years since, the players who have come in have moved it to the next level," he said. "I didn't know what to expect because everything happened so quickly.
"It only seems like yesterday that I came but already we are top of the league and have won the FA Cup."