Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Gerrard sees reasons for optimism

Steven Gerrard

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes the club are in a good position to challenge to regain Champions League status.

Kenny Dalglish's side may have lost twice already this campaign - at Stoke and Tottenham - but a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United at the weekend has given Gerrard, who made his first start in seven months at Anfield on Saturday, renewed confidence about the future.

"We've got to put it into perspective. We were playing probably the best side in the league. It goes to show how far this team and this squad has come that we're disappointed not to have taken maximum points off Manchester United," said Gerrard.

The England midfielder scored a free-kick and had it not been for the brilliance of United goalkeeper David de Gea both Dirk Kuyt and Jordan Henderson could have scored late winners in a match the home side probably just edged.

Gerrard added: "We stood up to the test and we've proved we're up there as good as the best in the league.

"We are really confident we can push on from this game now and put in a real good fight for the top four."

Gerrard believes significant investment in the playing staff by Fenway Sports Group, who marked their first anniversary in charge on Saturday, is starting to bear fruit after a summer of significant recruitment has added strength and depth to a squad which was lacking in a number of areas over the last couple of seasons.

"We have improved and are a lot stronger and you sum a side up by how strong your bench is," he added.

"If you look at our bench against United we had Craig Bellamy, Andy Carroll and Jordan Henderson - that goes to show how much stronger we've got over the last couple of years.

"It is a really big positive when you know you have got big subs coming on and we are really happy with how things are going at the moment. All those players (and other summer signings like Jose Enrique, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing) have made our squad an awful lot stronger."

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