'We must play at 110% to beat Barca' - Gerrard

February 27, 2007

Steven Gerrard insists Liverpool must be ready to tackle Barcelona star Ronaldinho head on.

As the Liverpool skipper prepares to lead his side into battle at Anfield tonight, protecting a 2-1 first-leg lead in the Champions League last 16, he knows that the Brazilian and his pals want revenge for the Nou Camp defeat they suffered at the Merseysiders' hands a fortnight ago.

Gerrard said: 'We have got to be very careful, and show Barcelona every respect. They are a fantastic team and they are capable of going anywhere in Europe and playing people off the park.

'We must make sure we match, if not better, our first-leg performance. They are maybe more dangerous now because they are behind.

'But Barcelona over the last couple of seasons have proved they are the best side in Europe, that's how difficult it is going to be for us.'

He added: 'We have a slight advantage, but only slight. We have to get the job done and we are confident we can do that.

'We know we have to keep people like Ronaldinho, Deco and (Lionel) Messi quiet. They are their best players and we must stop them imposing themselves on the game.

'But they have fine players everywhere, so it is all about our team doing their very best.

'We have the experience of the very big games, we have been to finals and done it before. But part of being a footballer is that history counts for nothing, you have to keep going out onto the pitch to do it again and again.

'We must not get carried away by the first-leg result, we must not be over-confident and think the job is done.

'The past counts for nothing. We have to have a fresh game plan and a fresh performance.'

Gerrard's view is supported by Liverpool legend Ian Rush, who said: 'Ronaldinho scored at the weekend, he's the real danger. And they have (Samuel) Eto'o as well. Top class both.

'If they are on form and you let them play, they can score three or four against any team in the world.

'You have got to stop Ronaldinho from playing. You do that by working harder than him.

'I do not think people realise how hard Liverpool worked in Barcelona to get the result they did. They have to do exactly the same at Anfield.

'They must give 110%, everyone, and just hope that Ronaldinho does not have a special night.'

Boss Rafael Benitez is confident his side - beaten by Manchester United at the weekend - can bounce back.

He said: 'Our game plan at Anfield will be different to the one we used in Barcelona.

'We will be hoping for the special support of our fans to make this a very different game.

'The positive thing from the Manchester United defeat was that we played well and deserved to win. That we didn't was very disappointing, but we have gained confidence from that performance to go into the game with Barcelona.'