Pablo Zabaleta has called on his Manchester City teammates to make sure their title charge stays on track by beating Liverpool on Sunday.
The defender does not believe that Manuel Pellegrini's men - currently four points behind the league leaders but with two games in hand - should even entertain the idea of playing for a point at Anfield.
While a share of the spoils in the battle at the summit, in addition to victory in all of Manuel Pellegrini's remaining games, would return the Premier League title to the blue half of Manchester, Zabaleta quashed the notion that the run-in would be that cut and dried.
"We must go and try to win the game at Liverpool," the 29-year-old told the club's official website. "We have seven huge games left but we know they are one of the teams fighting for the title. That makes it a vital game; we need to make sure we win it."
Zabaleta has only missed a handful of games this campaign, and having been part of another home win against the Saints, the right back stressed the importance of focus on their own business over the coming weeks.
"We will see if the others drop some points, but the most important thing is that we win," he said. "We have to make sure we at least win our home games because we know it will be very tough until the end of the season."
Yaya Toure is the only player to have played more Premier League minutes for City than Zabaleta, and the Argentine is aware of the importance of the midfielder at Anfield - which was endangered when, on a booking, he reacted angrily to a late challenge against Southampton.
"He's an important player for us," he said. "It would have been a huge loss if we had to be without him for a game like Liverpool.
"There was a danger he could have got a second yellow, but it was important that he didn't."
- Sports & Recreation
- Manuel Pellegrini