Head coach urges his players to relish Anfield challenge
STEVE Clarke believes high-flying Liverpool are continuing to improve under Brendan Rodgers – but insists his players will not arrive at Anfield on Saturday (ko 3pm) with an 'inferiority complex'.
The 50-year-old, who was the Reds’ first-team coach during Kenny Dalglish’s reign, steered the Baggies to a rare league double over his former employers last term.
Clarke hopes his players will go into the game in confident mood, especially after winning at another of the Barclays Premier League heavyweights, Manchester United, a month ago.
Albion have won their last two matches at Anfield but Clarke insists those victories have now been consigned to the history books.
“It will be a difficult game,” said the head coach.
“Liverpool are a different team to last season and have started this season well.
“Our games against them last season are good memories but are no reference to what will happen this season.
“We will go to Anfield with confidence, being five games unbeaten, including a good result at Manchester United.
“We’re never daunted by going to the big grounds and we go to these places with the intention of winning the game.
“That’s the frame of mind you have to approach these games in.
“You have to know that you’re good enough to go to somewhere like Anfield and compete.
“If you go with an inferiority complex, you’re beat before you even get there.
“Liverpool have some quality players and Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez deserve all the praise they get.
“Having said that, I don’t think Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley will be losing any sleep on Friday night worrying about facing them.
“Our players will be looking forward to the challenge of keeping those players quiet.”
The likes of James Morrison, Nicolas Anelka, Shane Long, Chris Brunt and Matej Vydra were all named as substitutes for last week’s stalemate at Stoke.
Clarke has asked players not currently making his starting line-up to remain patient as he confronts another welcome selection headache this weekend.
“The players who aren’t getting in at the moment are working hard every day in training to show me that they want to play,” he added.
“At the moment, they have to be a little bit patient.
“Saturday is a different game and it could be a different team that plays.
“The team’s not been selected yet and everyone has a chance.
“If it’s not this week for them, it could be next week or the week after.
“They have to be ready to come into the team and from what I’m seeing in training, everyone is.”