Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard has played just six times for Liverpool this season. REUTERS

Martin Keown believes Liverpool can be more than a match for Premier League leaders Manchester City when the two sides meet at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.

Liverpool beat Newcastle United 3-1 on Friday, the first time they have scored more than two goals since beating Bolton by the same score line in August.

And Keown considers the return of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could prove crucial in tonight's clash.

"Three points [for Manchester City] are not a given against Liverpool, especially [Liverpool] have Steven Gerrard back. You saw what an effect he had against Newcastle and, in particular, on Andy Carroll," Keown told the Daily Mail.

Friday's win was achieved in the absence of Luis Suarez and, although the Uruguay striker is expected to return tonight, Keown believes Liverpool have a strong enough squad to cope should the club decide against appealing his eight-game suspension.

Gerrard marked only his second appearance in two months with a well-taken goal against Newcastle and Keown is adamant the club's captain can tempt the best out of Andy Carroll.

"It's almost a year since Carroll joined and Kenny Dalglish returned to the hot seat, and they [Liverpool] have made massive improvements. There seems to be genuine belief now and finishing in the top four is realistic," he added.

"They've beaten Arsenal and Chelsea this season so they just need to start winning games against sides lower down the table and taking more chances.

"They are fine at the other end where Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger are playing better than ever, seemingly secure in their places in the team. It is harsh on Jamie Carragher but it means Skrtel and Agger know they are first choice."