Steven Gerrard desperate to avoid poor Liverpool start

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes the club can be Barclays Premier League title contenders next season - providing they avoid the early-season errors which crippled their campaign last year.

The new fixture list has given the Reds an opening home match against Sunderland - meaning summer signing Jordan Henderson could make his debut against his former club.

They then travel to Arsenal before home matches against Bolton and Wolves and trips to Stoke and Tottenham before the end of September.

Last season, with new boss Roy Hodgson in charge, the team claimed just six points from their opening half dozen fixtures before things took a turn for the worse as they dropped into the bottom three.

It was Liverpool's worst start since the 1953-54 campaign, when they were relegated, and that is a situation Gerrard is keen to avoid repeating.

"It's important to hit the ground running if you want to compete for the title. You can't afford any slip-ups early on," said the England midfielder, who expects to be fully fit for pre-season training after a groin operation in March.

"It's a tough first two games but I'm really looking forward to them and I think we can get two positive results.

"Hopefully we will have a few new signings in and we can start the season with three points which would give us the confidence to then go and get a good result at Arsenal."

Henderson's arrival will be followed by a number of other new faces, with long-time target Sylvain Marveaux likely to be the next after the winger's contract expired with French club Rennes.

Negotiations are continuing over Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam while reinforcements are also required in defence, particularly on the left where Newcastle's Jose Enrique has emerged as the prime candidate.

Udinese's Colombia defender Cristian Zapata claims he has a move to Anfield lined up.

"I can say that I am very close to Liverpool," he told La FM.

"At the end of the Copa America, we will see what happens with my future.

"I have gained experience, but the time has come for me to make the jump to a big team."

Since taking over in October owners Fenway Sports Group have stressed the need to extract more value for money from the transfer market, with the focus particularly on younger players.

It is a policy which served them well in their ownership of baseball franchise Boston Red Sox and one they hope to extend to Anfield.

However, the £20million deal to buy England Under-21 international Henderson indicates the Americans' willingness to spend significant money when they feel it is worth it.

"You're seeing the desire to win and the desire to compete in the transfer market," said Billy Hogan, managing director of Fenway Sports Marketing, the group's commercial arm.

"We would expect to have a couple more additions as the summer progresses.

"Damien Comolli (director of football) and Kenny (Dalglish) have certainly been clear about the desire to add talent where they can."

Hogan told Bloomberg: "When the ownership group acquired the Red Sox 10 years ago, one of the focuses was to develop the youth and in particular our farm system.

"That ultimately is where the Red Sox have been able to compete by bringing in what we call homegrown talent: young and talented baseball players that were grown within our minor league system.

"That's certainly something that holds true across the organisations. We're always looking for young talent."

In terms of what is expected from Liverpool next season, Hogan added: "We don't like to over promise and under deliver. Our goal is to always win."

Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sport LIVEFollow the latest news and scores from today's Premier League as Liverpool make a blistering start against Norwich
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLESir Cliff Richard has used a candid appearance on an Australian talk show to address long-running speculation about his sexuality

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit