Stewart Downing is desperate for Liverpool to keep in touch with the teams at the top of the table. After suffering successive defeats, wins over Wolves and Everton have reduced the gap to both Manchester clubs to six points.

More importantly, the distance between them and a Champions League placing is only two points.

"It is easy to slip away from the pack when you lose a couple and we didn't want to do that," said the 27-year-old.

"I think the two victories keep us in with that [pack] going into the international break.

"The derby win was a big three points for us. Winning meant a lot to the fans but the main thing for us was getting the three points.

"We needed it to stay in the pack.

"We're going into the break in good form and we have to ensure we keep it going."

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