Sao Paulo turned up the heat on Liverpool at the FIFA Club World Championship today, with coach Paulo Autuori dismissing the English side's title ambitions.
European champions Liverpool arrived in Japan yesterday with manager Rafael Benitez and his players expressing confidence they could return to England with the trophy.
Autuori was unimpressed with Liverpool's swagger.
''You must do your talking on the pitch,'' Autuori told reporters on the eve of the South American champions' semi-final against Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad in Tokyo.
''Liverpool can say what they want. They still have to back it up on the pitch. Right now I'm more worried about Al Ittihad than Liverpool.
''We also have high expectations and feel confident we can take the cup back to Brazil.'' Liverpool's confidence was bolstered by a seventh straight Premier League victory at the weekend, a 2-0 victory at home to Middlesbrough, equalling a club record of 10 clean sheets.
Benitez and captain Steven Gerrard said they had come to Japan with the aim of winning the revamped FIFA tournament.
Liverpool are expected to beat Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa in Thursday's second semi-final and set up a showpiece final against Sao Paulo on Sunday.
LOST IN TRANSLATION If much of the talk from the two camps is being lost in translation, Autuori's edginess has not been helped by Ittihad's progress in the six-team tournament.
Autuori had predicted Sao Paulo would be playing African champions Al Ahly, only for Ittihad to snap the Egyptian side's 55-match unbeaten run with a 1-0 win at the weekend.
''Ittihad work hard, they have quick players and they are tactically sound,'' said Autuori, who led Sao Paulo to their third Libertadores Cup title in July, two months after quitting as coach of Peru's national team.
''But my players are all aware of their responsibility and I've got faith that they will do the job tomorrow and again on Sunday.
''Brazilian players have that little bit extra individual quality and I expect them to demonstrate that.'' Japan has proved a happy hunting ground for Sao Paulo, who won the World Club Cup -- the tournament's forerunner, involving the champions of Europe and South America -- in 1992 and 1993.
However, striker Amoroso said they would not make the mistake of underestimating Asian champions Al Ittihad.
''They're a quality team with a lot of very experienced players,'' he said. ''We will need to be careful. We will treat them as if they're Inter Milan or Barcelona.''