Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gerrard admits liverpool have underperformed

STEVEN GERRARD has challenged his team-mates to join him in the trenches to revive Liverpool’s faltering season.

After being dumped out of the Champions League at the group stage, Anfield legend Graeme Souness said the club could be heading for financial meltdown.

But in a defiant message, Gerrard says the players will be going all-out to make the ex-Kop boss eat his words.

Talking after seeing his side beaten by Fiorentina on Wednesday night, Gerrard said: “As captain I have got to make sure that a meltdown doesn’t happen.

“And that starts now with all the players taking responsibility.

“It’s all right looking at why it’s happening. We need to put it right on the pitch as players. It hurts and it’s difficult looking at the league table and seeing Liverpool as low as seventh.

“Especially after finishing second last season. Although we missed out it was still a real confidence booster and gave us a big belief going into the season that we could fight all the way.”

Huyton born Gerrard, who grew up watching the great team built around Kenny Dalglish and Souey in the 80s, has no doubts that boss Rafa Benitez has the squad to kick on and fight back.

He said: “Unfortunately we have found ourselves outside the top four positions. And we need to put that right. We’re up for the challenge. There’s no time now for hiding.

“We need to get out there and get on with it. “We are the players responsible for where we are in the league so we’re the ones who need to get it right.”

That starts today with another crucial clash to save Liverpool’s season, this time against another top four challenger, Arsenal.

The importance isn’t lost on Gerrard. Then again it never is as he speaks passionately from a heart which has been broken by Champions League expulsion.

He added: “It goes without saying that it’s a massive game, especially with our league position and because of the start to the season we have had.

“Every game now is a cup final. We need to try to get back into a top-four position as soon as possible. That’s
the No.1 priority of the club right now.

“At the beginning of the season we had the intention of being in the title race from start to finish.

“Unfortunately we have had a bad start.

“The idea now is to get people fit, get back to full strength and start moving up the league. I’m confident we can do that if we get everyone back fit.”

Overcoming Cesc Fabregas and company will be no easy task, as Gerrard is quick to acknowledge.

“It’s very difficult playing against Arsenal,” he said.

“They’re one of the best teams in Europe at passing the ball very quickly and moving the ball about. We have to get about them and try to force them into mistakes.

“If you stand off they will kill you. So starting against Arsenal, we have to roll our sleeves up and get this football club back to where it belongs. And that’s as far up the league as possible.”

The current plight of Liverpool is obviously something Gerrard finds hard to swallow. But he definitely doesn’t
want anyone shaking their heads in bewilderment about being out of the Champions League and a top-four berth.

Gerrard added: “It’s not puzzling why we’re in this position. The league never lies.

“We are in this position for a reason – we haven’t been good enough or consistent enough.

“It was a sickener losing against Fiorentina because I thought we gave a good account of ourselves and were unfortunate to lose the game.

“Let’s be fair, though, it wasn’t a massive game.

“It was all about the preparation for Arsenal.

“Alberto Aquilani got some minutes on the pitch and Fernando Torres returned.

“So there were a lot of positives to be taken from the match, too.

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