Liverpool players responsible for slump, says Steven Gerrard

 

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has called for the players to do more to lift the side out of their current slump.

The Reds lost a third consecutive league match at Sunderland on Saturday - the first time that has happened since 2003.

It has left them in seventh, just two points ahead of Everton ahead of tomorrow's Merseyside derby at Anfield.

"The players need to take responsibility for where we are in the league," Gerrard said.

"It's just not good enough for a club like us to be there.

"We have to find a better level of consistency. We need a reaction and there's no better team to produce that against than Everton.

"It's important the players put in a performance and get a result for the fans.

"Everyone is a bit down after recent results but we want to put a smile back on their faces.

"It's a big week and we want to go into that Cup tie with Stoke on the back of a win."

Less than a month ago, Liverpool lifted the Carling Cup - their first trophy for six years - and many felt it would be the platform for them to push for Champions League qualification.

It has not turned out that way and Gerrard said they had to put their Wembley triumph behind them.

"The Carling Cup was a fantastic achievement but it's gone now, it's been put to bed. We have to forget about that," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"We wanted to build on winning the Carling Cup by pushing for the top four, but it hasn't happened so far as we've lost two on the bounce.

"We need to sort our league form out sharpish and try to get back to Wembley in the FA Cup.

"That Stoke game (a quarter-final this weekend) has become even more important than it was a few weeks ago.

"The frustrating thing is we went from a fantastic performance, an eight or nine out of 10 against Arsenal, to a three or four out of 10 against Sunderland.

"We didn't deserve to lose to Arsenal but on Saturday there were no excuses.

"You can look for the easy way out and say the pitch was bad and it was windy but the fact is we just weren't good enough on the day.

"As players we have to take responsibility for a bad performance.

"We just didn't get out of first gear in the first half; we improved a bit in the second half but as a whole it wasn't good enough."

Manager Kenny Dalglish said it was not just the squad who were accountable but all staff at the club.

"It is important the players take responsibility in every game but we are not in isolation," he said at his press briefing ahead of tomorrow's derby.

"It is not the players taking responsibility this week and someone else has to do it next week.

"Everyone needs to take responsibility. Everyone needs to stand up and be counted and stand together and see what we can do."

PA

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