Saturday, August 03, 2013

Gerrard Says Champions League Is A Must For Liverpool

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has said the club must qualify for the Champions League if they are to be able to attract top quality players to the club.

Gerrard prepares to play in his testimonial match against Olympiakos on Saturday, the club he scored one of his more famous strikes against in the Champions League winning year of 2005.

With Suarez keen to play Champions League football and Henrikh Mkhitaryan turning down the club for Borussia Dortmund, Gerrard says the club needs to get back to the level it was at earlier in his career.

He also spoke about Suarez’ future at the club, revealing the midfielder would give his teammate space to make a decision.

"I think the only person who knows what's happening is Luis himself," said Gerrard.

"He has a huge decision to make and, as his team-mate, I have to show him respect and give him space to make whatever decision he wants to make."

Gerrard reiterated his admiration for Suarez’ ability, putting Liverpool’s season expectations on hold until his future is decided.

"I think everyone knows how highly I rate him and how much I want him to stay, and what we can achieve this season basically depends on whether he stays or goes, I believe."

Liverpool has not been in the Champions League since the 2009/10 season and Gerrard is hoping the club can return to the competition and win medals.

"While I've still got a couple of years left - and maybe a few more who knows - I have to make the most of it. And that is about adding more medals to what I already have and to leave this club in the Champions League. That is the challenge for me personally.

"It is not the same club I joined because we are not in the Champions League, so it becomes an awful lot more difficult to attract the top players."

Despite the lack of Champions League football, Gerrard believes Liverpool are still one of the biggest and most watched teams in the world.

"But I think the club's history and size - we've just been on a tour which has seen us play in front of nearly a quarter of a million people in 10 days - means the pull is still here," he continued.

"We need to break back into the top four to get back the pull we had four or five years ago when we were comfortably in the Champions League year in, year out and challenging to win it.

"Players who come and get the club back into the Champions League will experience some of the biggest nights of their career, because playing European football in front of this crowd is different to any other."

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