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Anfield holds no fear for Jem

Published: 16 Oct 2012 11:300 comments

READING midfielder Jem Karacan is hoping to cap off a memorable week by guiding his side to victory at Liverpool this Saturday (3pm ko).

Big ambitions: Jem Karacan holds off ex-Royal Gylfi Sigurdsson during a 3-1 defeat by Spurs in September.
Pic: Chris Forsey.

Royals face a trip to Anfield and a reunion with former boss Brendan Rodgers as they search for their first Premier League win of the season.

For Karacan it will come at the end of a landmark few days following his call-up by the Turkey national side.

The 23-year-old, whose father was born in Turkey, was invited to join Abdullah Avci's squad at the end of last week, with Turkey due to meet Hungary in Budapest in a crucial World Cup qualifier tonight.

And Karacan, who was hoping to make his senior international debut, declared: "Ideally we want to play every week but after the international break we'll recoup and get ready for Anfield.

"We've beaten Liverpool there before - we're not scared of them. We look at every game as a chance to get three points - that's all that's at stake. We just want to go out in every game and prove to people what we can do."

Brian McDermott's Royals pulled off a famous 2-1 victory at Anfield in an FA Cup replay in January 2010, having drawn 1-1 with the Reds at Madejski Stadium.

Reading were a Championship side back then while Liverpool were riding high under ex-manager Rafa Benitez. It was an occasion that brings back happy memories for a then fresh-faced Karacan.

"Anfield is a fantastic place to play - one of the best stadiums in the world," he said. "We just need to go there and do what we have been doing in our last couple of games.

"I played against Liverpool twice in the FA Cup a couple of years ago. To be able to glance over at an opponent of Steven Gerrard's calibre is a real pleasure. Hopefully the team can go there and do as well as we did before."

Royals are certainly in need of a kick-start in the league, with McDermott's men currently 18th place after three defeats and three draws from their six Premier League games so far.

They earned a 2-2 draw at Swansea City last time out, but relied on an outstanding performance from goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to keep them in the game.

However, Karacan insists the players are giving their all for the cause.

"When you put the shirt on, you know you've worked hard for it," he added. "We are always told that it's all about the team, which it is.

"If things aren't going your way then you've got to give 100 per cent. The Premier League is hard, not just physically, but mentally.

"You've got players popping up in places you don't expect, so you always have to be on your toes.

"We're unbeaten in three games. We've played good Newcastle and Swansea sides and beaten QPR in the Capital One Cup.

"We can take that confidence to Liverpool now. At the end of the day, we're scoring goals and getting points on the board against teams that finished in the top 10 last season."

Reading's Chris Gunter, Hal Robson-Kanu and Simon Church (all Wales), Kaspars Gorkss (Latvia) and Adrian Mariappa (Jamaica) are also on international duty this week.

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