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Saturday May 3, 2014 MYT 1:32:02 AM
Saturday May 3, 2014 MYT 1:32:56 AM
(Reuters) - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is confident local rivals Everton will not go easy against Premier League contenders Manchester City, in a pivotal fixture that could affect the destination of the title.
If City win on Saturday, they will go back to the top of the table ahead on goal difference of Liverpool, who do not play at Crystal Palace until Monday.
Rodgers pointed out that fifth-placed Everton have plenty of incentive for the crucial clash, having not yet given up hope of securing fourth spot and Champions League qualification.
"I've read some bits and pieces about Everton not wanting to do Liverpool a favour, but make no mistake they are a great club who've done really well this year and they're fighting for a Champions League position," Rodgers said in a news conference at the club's training ground.
"They've got outstanding players and are going into the game looking to get a result."
Rodgers claimed Liverpool, seeking a first league title in 24 years, are in "a wonderful position", adding: "We're two points clear with two games to go and Manchester City have a really tough game at Everton.
"We'll do what we've always done and concentrate on the next game.
"If we go on and win our two games to finish, which will be tough games, we'll just see where it takes us."
Rodgers hopes that England striker Daniel Sturridge will be fit to play on Monday, despite not having started a game since the home win over City three weeks ago.
"He's worked tirelessly this week with the medical team, and we'll see how he is come Monday," the manager said.
Rodgers is not concerned either about his captain Steven Gerrard, whose error allowed Chelsea a crucial goal in their 2-0 victory at Anfield last weekend, putting the championship back within City's grasp.
"Steven played really, really well, but he was just unfortunate to make the slip and Demba Ba went through and finished really well," he added.
"Steven is a guy who has picked himself up over many years after disappointments. And he will do it again. He's a real, real good man.
"I think it's been a wee bit over-analysed as well - the guy slipped, which can happen to anyone. Unfortunately it led to the goal. It happens and we move on."
(Reporting by Steve Tongue; editing by Toby Davis)
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