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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Skipper Gerrard calls on Liverpool's fear factor

Captain Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool are the team feared by others in the Champions League.

The five-time European champions face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow in a quarter-final first leg.

Although the Gunners have dominated their domestic clashes in recent seasons - with Liverpool winning just three times in the last seven years - Gerrard believes European matches are a different prospect.

And he pointed to the Reds' Champions League victory over AC Milan in 2005 and appearance in the final again last season as proof of their credentials.

'We are a good side in Europe and we are always confident whoever we come up against we can qualify,' he said. 'I think other teams are more concerned about us because we have proved over the last two or three years we are one of the best sides in the competition.

'We have nothing to fear - just go there full of confidence and give it our best shot.'

Confidence is high after Sunday's victory in the 207th Merseyside derby, which Gerrard believes was the ideal preparation for facing English opponents in the Champions League.

'A big derby win and the fans are happy and the players are happy,' said the England midfielder. 'It is going to be a really tough game (against Arsenal) but we are looking forward to it now and go into it full of confidence.'

Gerrard would have preferred to be facing less familiar opposition - the teams faced each other four times in the league, FA and Carling Cups last season and will, by a quirk of the fixture list, also play in the Barclays Premier League this weekend.

However, he accepts it is just another hurdle to overcome.

'Before the draw was made you are looking for a team in (continental) Europe but you get what you are given and to win this cup you have to beat the best,' added the 27-year-old.

'When we won it in 2005 we had to beat all the best teams so I'm sure we will have to do it again.

'If you look at our games against Chelsea (they played the Blues three successive seasons in the Champions League) they were slightly different from the league games.

'It is a cup competition and it is different from playing for three points. I'm sure it will be different but we know we are in for two very tough games.'

Gerrard is also hopeful Arsenal's faint Premier League title hopes will mean they are not fully focused on European glory.

The Gunners stayed in the race for the title on Saturday after coming from 2-0 down to beat Bolton 3-2 with 10 men.

'They have one more thing to play for. Had they not won maybe it would have made it more difficult for us. Now they have still got half a chance in the league maybe that will distract them a bit.'