Monday, December 10, 2012

Steven Gerrard Calls For Champions League Push

Steven Gerrard set his sights on a sustained push towards the Champions League spots after Liverpool FC’s thrilling 3-2 victory over West Ham.

The Reds overcame the absence of suspended top scorer Luis Suarez as they fought back from 2-1 down to secure maximum points at Upton Park.

It was the first time this season that Brendan Rodgers’ side have bagged two successive league wins and they are up to 10th in the Premier League – just four points adrift of fourth placed Everton.

“I’m really pleased with the lads. It was a fantastic performance,” said Gerrard.

“I think before the game people were doubting us and thinking we would be a bit toothless in the final third without our top striker.

“But we’ve gone away from home, scored three goals and got the three points we came here for.

“We’re building slowly towards where we want to be. We’ve got two home games now against Aston Villa and Fulham.

“If we can capitalize and make it 12 points out of 12 then we will find ourselves a lot closer to fourth.

“It’s a platform to build on. We just have to focus on Villa now. Come the end of December we’re really looking to be close to that fourth position.”

Gerrard hailed the spirit Liverpool showed in the capital and believes the performance without Suarez made a mockery of suggestions that they are a one-man team.

“We showed a lot of character and determination to come back like that,” he said.

“Every win does a lot for the group and we did it without not only our top scorer but one of the top scorers in the Premier League.

“People will always doubt you and question what’s going to come from this team. A lot of people have said for years we’re a one-man team or a two-man team.

“We can’t control what people say and their opinions, but we know we have got a lot of good players here.

“If we play in the right way and do what the manager asks us then we will win games.”

Glen Johnson fired the Reds in front with a stunning 20-yard strike early on but the Hammers were in front before the break thanks to Mark Noble’s penalty and Gerrard’s own goal.

Substitute Joe Cole equalized with 14 minutes to go and defender James Collins deflected Jordan Henderson’s cross past his own keeper for the Reds’ winner.

“It was a special goal from Glen and he’s a player in form,” said Gerrard.

“He’s been fantastic for us since the start of the season. It’s no shock to me. I play for Liverpool and England with him.

“His consistency levels, and not just this season but for a long time now, have been very good.

“He’s certainly up there with the best right-backs in the world.

“I thought their penalty was harsh. If your arm is out away from your body you can understand why referees give handball, but I thought Joe Allen’s arm was close to his body and there wasn’t much he could have really done.

“I don’t think we would have got that decision if it had been down the other end but it doesn’t matter now.

“For the opening half an hour we completely dominated the game and that’s probably played the best we have played since Brendan came in.

“Having taken the lead, we were very unfortunate to find ourselves 2-1 behind. This is a difficult place to come but we fought back well and got a great result.”

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