Gerrard tells Liverpool to focus on fourth
Tuesday 12 February 2008
Steven Gerrard has told his Liverpool team-mates and the club's supporters to forget about winning the Premier League title and concentrate on finishing fourth.
Liverpool had to settle for a point against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday in a disappointing goalless draw. Their failure to turn their first-half dominance into goals meant they failed to overcome the Blues but Gerrard admitted the focus must now shift away from the title for yet another year.
The draw left Rafa Benitez's team 16 points behind leaders Arsenal and Gerrard said: "We realise now that we're facing a big challenge to finish in the top four and we've got to forget about the title and focus on fighting for fourth place.
"There are a lot of teams around us who are in good form and playing well so it's important that we don't let our standards drop. Chelsea was definitely a big improvement on how we've played of late. We looked more solid defensively and I thought we were the better side over the 90 minutes and if anyone was going to win it was us.
"Certain players who have had a bit of criticism of late performed really well and I think it was a good team performance against a side that have been playing very well lately.
"There are definitely a lot of positives to take out of this game. We controlled the majority of this game and it felt as if we could have snatched it."
Manchester City, Everton and Aston Villa all picked up three points over the weekend that meant Liverpool lost further ground in the race for fourth position in the table and a Champions League qualifying place.
But the Liverpool captain was more than happy with the performance apart from the cutting edge in attack. Gerrard said: "When we do go to those places we've got to perform like we did yesterday and maybe an extra five or 10 per cent could see us nick a win.
"I just thought we lacked that cutting edge in the final third, but I can't fault many other things because it was a good performance. I don't think you could fault any player. A couple of days before the game I said you need every player performing close to the maximum and I think we got that."
The England striker Peter Crouch, who missed a gilt-edged first-half chance to give Liverpool the lead, admitted they should have scored for the first time at Stamford Bridge under Benitez's management.
Crouch said: "A couple of half-chances came my way, and maybe the one on my left foot could have been better. If I hit the target then I think it would have gone in. We matched them and in the end we were the better side. We are still a way behind at the top, but we proved today that we'll keep going until the end."
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