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Pablo Zabaleta v Liverpool

Pablo Zabaleta v Liverpool

Pablo Zabaleta is urging City to out all thoughts about the tussle for a Champions League place to one side when they return to Stoke in the FA Cup this Wednesday.

The Blues head back to the Potteries for a showdown with Tony Pulis' side with a quarter final tie at Stamford Bridge at stake, and the versatile Argentinean is thinking positively about the prospect of the third game between the two sides in 10 days.

"We have to forget about the Premier League for now," the 25-year-old declares. "Stoke is going to be hard but it's a real chance for us to progress in the FA Cup. We know how hard they will be, we did not play well at times against them last week but we know if we play good football we can beat them. We should have the quality to do that so we know what we have to do."

But the popular Pablo has reflected on Sunday's draw with Liverpool, which coupled with better results for Villa and Spurs has seen place four to seven in the Barclays Premier League table tighten up considerably.

"I'm a little disappointed with the result," he continued, "because it was a great chance for us to get three points and get further ahead of Liverpool with them being so close to us. Villa and Spurs won so it's hard luck for us."

The first of Liverpool's six yellow cards on Sunday saw Javier Mascherano go into the book for a foul on friend and fellow countryman Pablo. Babel & Benayoun were also cautioned for poor challenges on the former Espanyol man, who nevertheless enjoyed the day whilst hoping an absent team-mate will be back with City soon.

"There were a lot of Argentineans out there, even without Carlos! Mascherano, Insua, Maxi Rodriguez, it was nice that we were all out there and nice for our country. I enjoy playing against Javier, he's a great player but also a great friend of mine as well.

"We want Carlos back, he's so important for us. He has been fantastic for us this season, but it's important that his family is OK. We have to understand what he is going through because it is such a long way to Argentina. It's not just two or three hours, it can take 18 hours or more to fly back there. It's tough for him, but I have been thinking of him. But we'd like him back soon because there are some important games coming up for us."

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