Thursday, February 19, 2009


Xabi Alonso admits he will cut a frustrated figure this weekend when he watches Liverpool's clash with Manchester City from the stands.

Having collected five yellow cards so far this term, the Reds' Spanish midfielder will serve a one-match ban for the visit of Mark Hughes' men, who themselves go into the game having won just once away from home this season.

With Manchester United hitting top form at the top of the table, Alonso insists three points are a necessity against City - and he's hoping for a far less dramatic game than the one played out between the two sides earlier in the campaign.

"It's always frustrating to watch games from the stands but I have known for a while I was likely to miss a match at some point and it has to be this one on Sunday," he told

"The important thing is all our international players came back fit and also had some time off. It's important to have some time to disconnect during the middle of the season and now we can look forward to the game with Manchester City, which is going to be very important for us if we want to challenge for the title.

"Hopefully it won't be as dramatic as our game at City when we were two goals down at half-time. We had to play with a lot of belief in that second half and score three goals, which eventually we managed. This time hopefully it will be more comfortable.

"They are a good team even though they haven't got the best of away records this season, so we know we will be in for a tough match."

Alonso's absence could be tempered by the possible return of Steven Gerrard from hamstring trouble, although the Liverpool skipper is expected to start the game from the substitutes' bench.

"It's good to see Stevie coming back but we have to wait until he is one hundred per cent," added Alonso.

"It's not intelligent to rush him back. Whenever he feels okay he will be a big part of our squad again."

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