Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard : Title talk for Reds is far too early

Captain marvel: Steven Gerrard will aim to keep Liverpool's fine form going against Everton at Goodison Park
Captain marvel: Steven Gerrard will aim to keep Liverpool's fine form going against Everton at Goodison Park

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insists it is too early to talk about title ambitions but admits there will be a "huge hole" in his career if he retires without a league championship to his name.

A Premier League winners' medal is the only club honour missing from the England skipper's extensive trophy cabinet.

And while the Reds have made a good start to this season, sitting second ahead of the weekend's Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, Gerrard said no-one was getting carried away.

"I think it's important for me as captain of the team not to raise expectations," he said.

"When you're talking about winning titles, it's premature, it's too early, and I don't want to get anyone's hopes up.

"That would be unfair. Our dream and our plan at the beginning of the season was to break into the top four.

"We're slightly ahead of where we thought we'd be, but it's a tough league and there's six or seven teams capable of finishing in the top four... so there's (going to be) a huge fight.

"But the confidence and belief are definitely there."

The 33-year-old, whose current contract runs until the end of next season, added: "There'd be a hole missing in my career (without a title win) but I don't think I'd spend the rest of my life being irritated or annoyed or frustrated. I don't think that would be fair on myself.

"Since I broke into this team at 18 years of age I've tried to win the title but it hasn't happened.

"I've got a couple more chances and I'll continue to fight for it."

Meanwhile, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers insists younger players have to be given time to develop and being fast-tracked into Liverpool's first team is not always beneficial.

With changes afoot at the club's academy – it is understood that director Frank McParland and head of coaching Rodolfo Borrell have both been removed from their posts – there will certainly be a renewed focus on the Reds' Kirkby production line.

But Rodgers extended his view on younger players further afield, citing the case of Derby's promising teenager Will Hughes.

The 18-year-old, who scored his first goal for England's under-21s in their 9-0 demolition of San Marino in midweek, has been continually linked with a move to Anfield.

Rodgers took the unprecedented step of addressing the speculation as he felt it was becoming unfair on the teenager.

The Ulsterman said: "This is a kid who if he picks up the paper every weekend he is linked with coming to Liverpool. I read we had put in a bid or something had been agreed and there is nothing further from the truth. There is no bid, there has been nothing.

"I think Will Hughes is a wonderful young talent who just needs to play football.

"We are always looking for talent – young players, senior players, and he along with many other players is probably one we've looked at."

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