Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool captain Gerrard guns for Arsenal

Steven Gerrard believes he and his Liverpool team-mates have answered their critics after they were written off earlier this season.

Seven defeats in the first four months of the campaign — five more than last year when they finished second to Manchester United — left the club floundering a long way off the pace in the Premier League.

However, a seven-match unbeaten run has lifted Liverpool back into the top four for the first time since early October.

Gerrard accepts the side struggled to begin with, but believes they are now showing their true quality and fighting spirit.

“There have been games this season where we have been beaten and not shown enough fight, enough good attitude and commitment,” said Gerrard.

“That's why we've not got the results we've wanted, but I don't think anyone can criticise us over the last seven games for the level of commitment.

“Every single player in the squad has rolled his sleeves up and everyone is fighting for the same thing.”

A victory at Arsenal tonight — where they have not won in the league for a decade — would put Liverpool within two points of their third-placed opponents.

“It's a massive game for us and the target is to try to get a result where we can push on and try to get third place,” said Gerrard.

“Our target is a top-four finish, but if Arsenal give us any sniff of catching them then we want to grab it and hopefully that will be on Wednesday night.”

Liverpool are likely to be without striker Fernando Torres and £18million full-back Glen Johnson for another month, while midfielder Yossi Benayoun is still weeks away from fitness.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal can still prove their doubters wrong and win the Premier League title.

The Gunners are now nine points off the pace following Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, after which Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack claimed Wenger's side were too predicable.

“I sit here in every single press conference and the situation of the moment is like it is forever. Sport is change, movement and we have to accept that,” said Wenger.

“Of course it is realistic to still think we can catch Manchester United and Chelsea — why not?

“Everybody will drop points. We have already played all the big teams.

“We have a long way to go. We still have 13 games to play and 39 points to take.

“At the moment, it (the deficit) is a disadvantage, but let's continue to believe in what we do and play our game tomorrow with belief.”

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