Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gerrard describes the pain of watching Liverpool go down

Steven Gerrard has admitted that watching Liverpool’s collapse from the stands has been agony.

The Liverpool captain saw his ­beloved club fall off the title pace and tumble to the verge of a Champions League exit while sidelined with a groin problem

Gerrard said there was nothing worse for him than being forced to miss big matches for his club or country.

In the past few weeks, the midfielder has had to sit out games against Manchester United and Arsenal as well as England’s friendly with Brazil.

Worse still has been Liverpool’s ­continued struggle and his frustration that he was unable to get out on the pitch to do something about it.

Gerrard said: “Some of the lowest points in my career have come about when I have had to miss big games for Liverpool and England through injury.

“It’s never easy when you have to sit out games against Manchester United or trips away from home in the Champions League.

“If the lads are winning games and doing well, it makes the pain a bit easier so obviously the last couple of weeks have been extra frustrating.

“But I’m feeling good now, a lot stronger than before and it’s just a question of getting my match sharpness back now. That is the most important thing.”

Gerrard has had two injections on the groin problem which has dogged him throughout this season, and there are fears that if the injury returns, he may need surgery.

But having rushed back when not fully fit for the 2-2 draw against Birmingham, nine days ago, he is ready to put his body on the line once again.

With six defeats and two draws in the last nine matches in all competitions, Rafa Benitez’s men have seen trophy hopes shattered.

Dreams of Premier League glory are all but over, with anything but a win on Saturday against Manchester City having even worse implications.

With City gunning for a top-four finish, defeat at Anfield would make Liverpool anxious about qualifying for the Champions League next year.

And even if Gerrard manages to inspire Liverpool to a vital win against Debrecen in Hungary next week, it may not be enough to keep alive this season’s European challenge.

The inspirational captain featured in just four of those nine matches, a clear indication of his importance to Liverpool.

Gerrard staying fit over the next month will have a major bearing on whether Benitez can challenge for honours, the top four – or even a Europa League spot.

After the match in Hungary, Liverpool face a daunting trip to Goodison Park and a derby clash with Everton, who would love to heap more misery on their local rivals.

With matches against Blackburn, Fiorentina and Arsenal after that, Liverpool can scarcely afford anything but a win from each fixture.

Without Gerrard the suspicion is the Reds would not be able to achieve such a return.

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