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Friday, January 9, 2009
Lucas calls on Reds to take the advantage

Liverpool midfielder Lucas has urged his team-mates to take advantage of Sunday's meeting between their main two rivals by moving six points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Third-placed Manchester United host Chelsea, currently second, 24 hours after the leaders go to Stoke.

Given the Reds' impressive away record this season - they have won seven of their 10 league matches on the road - Lucas believes they cannot afford to drop points this weekend.

''We want to win because we want to stay on top of the league,'' said the Brazil midfielder. ''Each point will be really important for us in the race for the title.

''We have confidence and we have quality. We are producing some good performances and we are playing well as a team. We feel we can beat anyone.

''Liverpool have waited a long time to win the Premier League title and now we have a chance to win it.

''Christmas was a crucial time for us with a lot of games in a row but we got a lot of points which was good.

''If we can win on Saturday we can relax and then see what happens in the other game.''

Lucas watched from the bench as Stoke frustrated Liverpool at home in a goalless draw back in September and knows it will not be easy at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow.

''We had a difficult game against them at Anfield when we could only draw which was very frustrating,'' said Lucas.

''Hopefully we will have more space on Saturday to pass the ball well and create more chances and put them away.

''In the game at Anfield we had about 70% of the possession but it was really difficult to break them down because they were really narrow.

''They are near the bottom of the table so they will be trying to get the points but we will be ready for the game and we know what we have to do.''

With Xabi Alonso doubtful with a foot injury Lucas could return to the starting line-up after dropping to the bench for last week's FA Cup victory at Preston despite impressing in the 5-1 win at Newcastle.

''I think that was my best performance for Liverpool,'' said Lucas of his Newcastle display.

''I think I am improving a lot and I have got confidence. I always try to improve in every game and try to take my chance.

''When you get your chance you have to take it, because with the quality of players we have here you know if you drop your level it will be more difficult to get another chance.''

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