Gerrard backs Liverpool to top Manchester City

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has set his sights on beating Manchester City in 10 days' time as the race for Champions League places heats up.

Last night's 1-0 defeat at Arsenal - where the Reds have not won for a decade - along with a similar reverse for Tottenham at Wolves and Aston Villa's goalless draw with Manchester United handed the initiative to City.

They are level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool but have two matches in hand and the fixture list pitches the two together at Eastlands a week on Sunday.

With third place now seemingly a distant hope after the Gunners extended their advantage to eight points Gerrard has called for all efforts to be put into beating Roberto Mancini's side.

"We have got to use a lot of positives from the (Arsenal) match," he said.

"There are plenty of teams who go there and get played off the park. I certainly feel disappointed leaving with nothing.

"We played against a fantastic Arsenal team with quality players who can open up any team in the world, and they did not really create many chances.

"It was just one mistake in our defence and they scored from it.

"The way we played over the 90 minutes, we certainly deserved a point.

"The lads are gutted after putting in all that effort and getting nothing, but sometimes that happens and you just have to get on with it.

"There is nothing we can do about this result now. The lads will reflect on it and we have a very big game coming up against Manchester City.

"But if we play like we did at Arsenal, then I fancy us to beat them.

"I feel if we are on our game and playing well, we are a match for anyone."

An eighth defeat of the season - two more than last year when they ran champions Manchester United a close second - is one of the most damaging statistics for Liverpool.

Seven of those came in the first four months of the campaign. By contrast, Manchester City have lost four and none so far at Eastlands.

The Liverpool captain knows their early form has cost them dearly but held up their seven-match unbeaten league run which came to an end at the Emirates Stadium as a yardstick for the remainder of the season.

"We are where we are in the table because we were very inconsistent earlier in the season," said the England international.

"But look at Liverpool's performances over the last six or seven games - if we show that consistency, then we will challenge for the league."

Gerrard's form has, like the team's, been patchy this season with niggling injuries preventing him from putting in the kind of inspirational performances he has gained a reputation for.

He now feels he is close to getting back to his best but said it was little consolation if it was not benefiting the team.

"I am really happy with the way I played myself [at Arsenal] but I get nothing from that because we came away with nothing," added the 28-year-old.

"But my form is improving."

Off the field manager Rafael Benitez said a deal to sign Standard Liege forward Milan Jovanovic was still to be completed.

The Serbia international, out of contract in the summer, told a Belgian newspaper yesterday the two parties had reached an agreement and all he had to do was complete a medical.

"There are a lot of rumours in the press but we are working and we will say something if we finalise things," said the Liverpool boss.

"At this moment we are talking with people and we are working."

Liverpool's non-involvement in the this week's FA Cup fifth round may come as a blessing in disguise as he currently has defensive worries.

With the in-form Sotirios Kyrgiakos still to serve two matches of a suspension, fellow defender Jamie Carragher was substituted with an injury last night.

Benitez is hopeful the extra few days' rest will allow his vice-captain to make a full recovery before the trip to Manchester City.

"Carra has a problem with his adductor. It's not serious, but we will have to see," said the Spaniard.

"He couldn't play on and we will see in the next few days how he feels."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss