Defender Andy Robertson believes Liverpool cannot be considered equals to Manchester City until they have won the Premier League title.
The Scotland captain admits Thursday’s trip to the Etihad Stadium is ‘massive’ given Pep Guardiola’s side trail by seven points.
Last season Liverpool beat City three times – twice in the Champions League quarter-finals – but despite a club-record start to the season, taking the most points from the opening 20 matches, Robertson feels until they have silverware in the trophy cabinet, they cannot say they are on the same level.
“We spoke about City last season and I’m sure every other team did. They were very hard to beat,’ said the left-back. “Of course we did it here in the league and the Champions League – but in the league not many people could touch them.
“But the thing is, they completed it and they’ve got their winners” medal and the trophy.
“Just now, we have nothing and that’s why at the end of the season, hopefully we can talk about it.
“Of course we hope that we win it but we know how hard it is and we know two teams (City and Tottenham), probably even more, are right behind us and causing us all sorts of problems.
“We know they’ll be right on our tails so we keep our feet on the ground and hopefully by then we’ll be celebrating. But we take it game by game.
“They’re a fantastic team, a very experienced team and they’ve been in this position before.
“They’ve won the title. It’s something that we’ve never had. They’re probably more experienced than us in this position but we look forward to it.”
City have already shown they have a new respect for their rivals after Guardiola brought his team to Anfield in October with a less expansive set-up than usual – and left with a goalless draw.
Liverpool‘s success against City last season was founded on taking the game to them and Robertson does not anticipate manager Jurgen Klopp trying to shut up shop for a point on Thursday.
“We play the way that the game tells us to play,” he added. “Arsenal were quite open and we took advantage of that (with a 5-1 win on Saturday).
“They also took advantage of us being open for the first goal, so we have to look at the goal because it was not good enough.
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“But the way we played was attacking and we scored the goals. Any game you can play like that but obviously every game is different and we need to wait and see how the game is going to be.
‘The difference in the Champions League game is they obviously had to win by four goals or whatever so they had to come out. They only need to win by one on Thursday.
“It’s a massive game, of course it is, but Tottenham will be looking forward to capitalise as well because we both play each other so both of us can’t pick up full points.
“This will go the whole way. We’re in a good position just now but it’s about continuing that and trying to build on every game that we play.”