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Tue 19 Feb 2008 02:38 AM

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Mancini warns Inter to be wary of Liverpool

English side will be anything but a pushover, says Inter Milan coach.

Inter Milan head coach Roberto Mancini has warned his players to be wary of a Liverpool backlash when the two teams meet in the first knockout round of the Champions League at Anfield on Tuesday.

With Rafa Benitez's side hurting after Saturday's surprise FA Cup exit at the hands of Championship side Barnsley, some observers believe the runaway Serie A leaders could not have timed their first visit to Anfield for 43 years any better.

But Mancini, the former Italian international striker, believes Liverpool will be anything but a push over and thinks Benitez's side will be desperate to put on a show for their supporters after the bitter disappointment at the weekend.

"The FA Cup is a very special competition and all teams give as much as they can," said Mancini.

"I saw Liverpool created a lot of chances that they didn't manage to take.

"It's true to say they aren't doing too well in the league at the moment, but that means they will give more in the Champions League and that could make them more dangerous.

"Our own league form has been excellent since last season. "But the league and the Champions League are two different competitions. "We are facing two very tough games against Liverpool.

"If we were to win at Anfield it would be an extremely prestigious victory".

Former Arsenal man Patrick Vieira and Hernan Crespo, once of Chelsea, have appeared at Anfield while playing in the Premier League.

"They've all told us that there's a really warm atmosphere when you play at Anfield," said Inter's veteran Argentinian captain Javier Zanetti.

"We know we will be playing in an excellent stadium with a huge atmosphere and a lot of support for Liverpool.

"We know games are always difficult at this level of the Champions League and you cannot afford to make mistakes".

Inter have lost only three of their last 45 away games, but such an imposing record has not translated itself into success in Europe.

"We know Liverpool are very strong at home, we have to keep a very close eye on them. But we intend to play our own way," added Zanetti.

"We are a team that doesn't know how to sit back. We think we are at least equal to them, so we need to go out and play our normal game, create chances and take them if we can.

"We have a possibility to prove ourselves over the next two matches. We feel that we are well equipped to make progress in this competition.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for Liverpool. We know that we will have two very difficult matches despite what happened to them on Saturday. That defeat means nothing.

"We have a huge test before us and we want to go through to the next round. This will be a huge challenge, and we know Liverpool have done well in recent years in this competition."

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