Belfast Telegraph

Gerrard excited by 'new era'

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes the club can bounce back from the "horror" of last season and start afresh with a new era under manager Roy Hodgson.

Early exits from the Champions League and FA Cup were followed by a seventh-placed finish in the Barclays Premier League, the Reds' worst for more than a decade. Boss Rafael Benitez left in the summer for Inter Milan but following the appointment of Hodgson at the start of July a wave of optimism has swept over the club.

"It's a great club and after speaking with Roy Hodgson I'm really pleased to see his plans for the club," said the England international.

"It's a new era now - we must forget about the horror of what happened last season and get this club back to where it belongs, which is the Champions League at the very least."

Hodgson's ability to persuade former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole to join on a free transfer was seen as a major coup and Gerrard is pleased to be playing alongside his international team-mate.

"[Lionel] Messi can do some amazing things, but anything he can do Joe can do as well, if not better," the 30-year-old told Match of the Day magazine.

"He used to shock us in training by doing footy tricks with a golf ball that most players can't even do with a football.

"I really fancy Joe for the [player of the year] award this season."

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