Steven Gerrard Says Liverpool Is ‘Not Far Away’ From Challenging for Place in Champions League

Steven Gerrard and Luis SuarezSteven Gerrard believes Liverpool is “not far away” from being a top-four challenger again.

The 32-year-old led the Reds to two Champions League finals in 2005 and 2007, but the club has now endured three seasons out of Europe’s premier competition.

European qualification is still possible this season after a Gerrard-inspired win against Aston Villa on Sunday — but whatever happens this term, the skipper thinks Liverpool can be back in the top four soon.

“We’re not far away,” he told reporters. “There will be some improvements in the summer to the squad and we believe we can then put in a better challenge for the top four next season.

“We know what our problem is and it’s inconsistency. For the majority of the games [this season] we have played well enough to be higher up the league than we are, but when you look at performances like Southampton, Aston Villa at home, West Brom away, Arsenal at home; there are a handful of games there that this team hasn’t turned up.

“That’s the reason why we are sitting where we are in the table. But there have been some fantastic performances, ones that are well worth a top-four finish.”

Gerrard received glowing praise from manager Brendan Rodgers for his performance on Sunday which followed an injection to ease pain in his heel.

Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, who claimed a penalty and an assist respectively, were also lauded by the boss — and Gerrard concurs.

“If you have players like Coutinho and Suarez in your team then you win games,” said the England captain. “Ever since I was a player as a kid, you always find it easier to play alongside quality players. All the way through, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres, Suarez, Coutinho, they are the easiest players to play with.”

Liverpool has seven games remaining, including encounters with fellow European contenders Everton and Chelsea at home.

“We need to keep the pressure up for that European place,” Gerrard added. “A lot of the teams above us play each other so we’re hoping there are a few slip-ups and we can capitalize  It’s important that we keep on taking maximum points. The manager told us that every game is like a cup final now.”

Photo via Liverpoolfc.com