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Singapore's Hariss named in AFF Best XI

By ESPN Staff

Hughes ready to prove Rovers can live with best

Mark Hughes is determined to 'make a statement' against Liverpool tomorrow and underline Blackburn's ambition.

A run of seven successive victories has given the former Wales boss reason to believe this could be a special season.

He knows the next two games - they face Manchester United the following week - will give them a good idea of how much they can achieve.

Hughes said: 'The same clubs always seem to be in the top four so the games against them are a marker.

'We want to make a statement against Liverpool as it is nice for a change to see one of our matches billed as one of the top games of the weekend.

'It is not often we are talked about in those terms. The way we are playing and approaching games we are looking forward to every one. That includes Liverpool and Manchester United.

'I am happy with the quality we have. We are a good team and enjoying a great run at the moment. I can just sense the group as a whole is really excited about what is happening.'

Hughes has seen his team lose only once in the league and that was at home to Portsmouth.

Blackburn, though, have shown their pedigree by taking a point off both Arsenal and Chelsea.

Hughes believes a full house at Ewood Park could be key to overcoming Liverpool.

He said: 'Whether we can break into the top four is a big ask. However we are pleased with the way we have played against some top sides and been unbeaten against the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal

'But we know we will have to play as well as we have done in recent weeks if we are to have any chance of beating Liverpool.

'We are expecting a big crowd and the fans can play a part in helping us trying to achieve a victory.'

England winger David Bentley and Aaron Mokoena are both expected to be included in the squad.

Bentley suffered a recurrence of a shin problem in the Carling Cup victory against Portsmouth in midweek while Mokoena took a knock on his leg.

Norway winger Morten Gamst Pedersen is aiming for a place in the team after scoring at Fratton Park.

He was pleased to find his touch in front of goal again after being dropped by Hughes.

Pedersen said: 'It is always nice to score and hopefully I can get a few more goals. The important thing, though, was to get through to the next round of the Carling Cup.

'I respect what the manager does as it is not easy to change a winning team. There are loads of games to play and you know you will get a chance.

'I was just happy to make an impact against Portsmouth. I felt I had a lot of energy in that game.'