Stewart Downing revels in Liverpool’s burgeoning reputation as giant-killers, but expects that image to change by the season’s end. LiverpoolFC.tv reports Sunday’s Manchester City test will cap a week of intense and focused practices for the Reds.
“I think we should look forward to it and say ‘Why can’t we be the first team to beat them?'”, Downing said. “It’s a great incentive for us. Obviously they are coming off a defeat in Napoli so they will be right up for it.
“We are full of confidence from our result at Chelsea so it has the makings of a cracking game. We are at home at Anfield so I’m confident we can get a result.”
Downing has been ever-present on the left side of the Reds’ midfield this season, but watched the first 77 minutes of last Sunday’s win over Chelsea from the bench. The England international helped turn the tense game in Liverpool’s favor in his 14 minutes of action.
Whether he starts against Manchester City or not, Downing knows the Reds will have to match or surpass last week’s levels of desire and commitment if they want to stop City’s 12-game unbeaten run.
“It’s going to have to be a top performance,” he said. “They are a top team with many, many great players, not just in the 11 but on the bench.
“We are going to have to be right up for it and start well. If we don’t they will punish you, which they have shown against the top teams this season. But we have belief in our own ability.”
While neutral observers have painted Liverpool as an inconsistent lot, Downing says the mood within the club is quite different from that. The players and coaches expect more from themselves than the general public may predict. Beating Manchester City could change that in a big way.
“Inside the club we have the belief that we have a really good team, but we have quietly gone about our business and got some good results.
“We made a big statement on Sunday by beating Chelsea on their home turf and they don’t lose there very often. We are going about our work quietly and that’s the best way to do it.”
Photo via Flickr/dannymol