Norwich manager Paul Lambert has labelled speculation linking him with a summer move to Aston Villa as "extremely unfair".
The pressure is increasing on Villa boss Alex McLeish as the Midlands club struggle to stay clear of the relegation dogfight, having been beaten 2-1 at home draw by Bolton in midweek.
By contrast, Lambert has steered the Canaries up into 13th place, with their top-flight status all but secured for another season, but he said: "It is extremely unfair with me being linked with Aston Villa when they have got a really good manager up there who is doing everything he can to stay in the league."
The former Celtic midfielder, 42, accepts transfer rumours about players and even managers is all part and parcel of the game, but insists reports suggesting he was being lined up by Villa owner Randy Lerner were unwelcome.
"Speculation about players is something you can never do anything about. It happens with managers as well and you can never stop that," the Norwich manager told a press conference.
"If my players get linked with other teams, there is not a thing I can do about that. It is the same situation about myself... It is an unfair comment for me to say anything on that."
Speaking ahead of the home tie against Liverpool, Lambert said: "I don't need to lift the players because the game itself will lift them.
"We will certainly have to lift it because I think Liverpool are a top side. Some of the players they have got are outstanding. The history and the tradition they have got is such that we have to step it up."
Lambert added: "Liverpool have won the Carling Cup, they are in the final of the FA Cup. The fan base is huge, Kenny (Dalglish) is a massive presence and they are still a fantastic side. I don't think anybody should underestimate that.
"Their performances have been good, but the results have gone against them, which happens, so I am under no illusions of how hard it is going to be. We will have to play to our max."