Steven Gerrard expects Liverpool to strengthen this summer, or risk being 'left behind'

The Reds enjoyed a strong second half to the season which the captain wants to see built upon

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes a summer of squad strengthening will allow the club to build on a strong second half of the season.

The injured England skipper, who watched yesterday's 1-0 win over QPR from the stands, pointed to "Champions League form" since January as an indicator fortunes were on the up and worthy of renewed optimism.

After defeat at Manchester United on January 13 Brendan Rodgers' side took 30 points from 16 league matches, winning eight and losing just twice.

During that spell they scored 36 goals to improve their goal difference to +28 - 20 better than last season as they finished one place higher in seventh.

The gap to fourth place was closed to 12 points from 17 a year ago and Gerrard is confident greater strides can be made in 2013-14.

"Since January this team has shown a better level of consistency," said the 32-year-old, who missed the last two matches of the campaign after shoulder surgery.

"We've shown Champions League form and there is a lot of optimism and positives to take into next season.

"Our target at the beginning of the season was fourth (place) and we have not delivered that - as players we need to take responsibility for that.

"We finished seventh in the league so there certainly needs to be a bit done.

"The preparation starts now for next year. I am sure the manager and staff are already preparing.

"All the other teams will strengthen and we can't afford to be left behind.

"I am sure the manager is already thinking about where he needs to strengthen the squad to make up that gap so we compete with the top four."

Liverpool's tally of 61 points was an improvement of nine on last season and would have been even better but for a run of four draws - three of which were goalless - in five matches.

But the fact remains that in matches against the six teams above them the Reds recorded just one victory (at home to Tottenham) in 12 attempts.

"I think it has been a mixed bag: at times we have played some superb football, we've put in some fantastic performances both home and away but we've struggled a little bit with consistency," added Gerrard.

"So us players need to dust ourselves down and try to make amends next year. There are certainly big positives to take.

"It's down to us to continue what we've done in the last couple of months, take that into next season and try to improve."

Gerrard expects to be fully recovered from an operation on his left shoulder he had just over a week ago by the time the players return for pre-season training in early July.

"The surgery went well and the surgeon is really happy," he added.

"I've gained a couple of weeks by going in slightly earlier and I'll be ready to join the lads at the start of July."

Another positive to take into next season is the progress made by the club's academy youngsters.

Winger Jordon Ibe made his full debut yesterday and provided the assist for Philippe Coutinho's third goal in 13 appearances since joining in January.

"I thought I did okay, especially getting an assist for Coutinho's goal and helping the club win three points," the 17-year-old told LFC TV.

"The manager told me that I did well, I just need to keep pressing and stay compact.

"I feel very confident because I've got a little bit of experience so I know what it takes to play here.

"Hopefully I can build on that and take it into the new season."

Goalkeeper Jose Reina, whose continued stay at Anfield will be the subject of plenty of speculation this summer with former club Barcelona reportedly interested, happily spoke about the future.

"I think we're building. We've been improving a little bit, especially in the second part of the season," said the Spain international.

"We have to keep that in mind and build on that second half.

"I think we are not far away from the top four spots and hopefully we'll only be better next season."

PA

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
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

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders