Steven Gerrard: Liverpool 'getting stronger' says captain, despite Luis Suarez departure

The midfielder is hopeful that a Premier League title challenge can be mounted again

Steven Gerrard has backed Liverpool to bounce back from last season's end-of-season heartbreak and mount a serious title challenge once again.

The Reds led the Barclays Premier League by five points with three games to go in April, but a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea at Anfield - in which Gerrard slipped to gift Demba Ba the opening goal - saw them pipped to the title by Manchester City.

Gerrard, who retired from international football after the World Cup to prolong his Anfield career, is ready to put last season's disappointment behind him and lead Liverpool in their first Champions League campaign since the 2009-10 season.

And the 34-year-old insists that Brendan Rodgers' side believe that they can go one better than their 2013-14 second-place finish and win their first league title in 24 years.

Speaking about the last season's campaign and the upcoming season, Gerrard told the Daily Mirror: "With 10, 12 games to go, people were maybe expecting us to drop away a lot sooner than we did. But we handled the pressure superbly well and we played some unbelievable football.

"We are a good team, with a good manager, that is getting stronger. The confidence is rising in the dressing room and we have got to show that we are the real deal.

"We are not there to just make the numbers up. There is genuine belief that we can be in there.

"Good sides don't just have one good season. They keep trying to fight for what they want. Chelsea do it. Manchester City do it. Manchester United have had a one-off bad season and they will be back. Arsenal have made a couple of really good signings.

"The league is going to be very, very tough but we know we are one of the sides that has got a genuine chance of winning it. I believe that."

Steven Gerrard has retired from England duty Steven Gerrard has retired from England duty  

Luis Suarez played a major role in Liverpool's second-place finish last season but the Reds will, of course, be unable to count on his goals and man-of-the-match performances after he joined Barcelona earlier this month.

While conceding that Suarez's departure is a massive loss, Gerrard insists that there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic in the red half of Merseyside.

He added: "Of course it (winning the title) will be difficult, it would be difficult with Luis and it will be without. All the other teams will grow and improve in the summer.

"But the reason I have that belief and confidence is because of the experience of all the other games last year, and also the manager has been here for a bit longer, and because of the signings he is making. I'm pretty confident we can get right involved in it again."

PA

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