Steven Gerrard Wants Liverpool to End 2012 Among Contenders for Top-Four Finish


Liverpool FCSteven Gerrard called on his teammates to maintain recent momentum and end 2012 right in the mix for a UEFA Champions League berth.

Liverpool recorded a dramatic 3-2 victory over West Ham United at Upton Park on Sunday to move into the top half of the Barclays Premier League standings — just four points behind fourth-place Everton.

It was the first time this season the Reds have recorded back-to-back league wins and means they have lost just one of their last 11 league fixtures.

With Anfield fixtures against Aston Villa and Fulham next up for Liverpool, Gerrard is eager to continue that sort of form and ensure Brendan Rodgers‘ side end the year firmly among the runners for a top-four finish.

“I’m really pleased with the lads. It was a fantastic performance,” the captain told the Liverpool Echo. “I think before the game people were doubting us and thinking we would be a bit toothless in the final third without our top striker [Luis Suarez].

“But we’ve gone away from home, scored three goals and got the three points we came here for.

“We’re building slowly towards where we want to be. We’ve got two home games now against Aston Villa and Fulham. If we can capitalize and make it 12 points out of 12 then we will find ourselves a lot closer to fourth.

“It’s a platform to build on. We just have to focus on Villa now. Come the end of December we’re really looking to be close to that fourth position.”

Glen Johnson opened the scoring for Liverpool, but a Mark Noble penalty and an own goal from Gerrard gave the Hammers a 2-1 half-time lead.

However, the Reds fought back after the break and deservedly drew level through Joe Cole before James Collins put one through his own net to secure the win.

“It was a special goal from Glen and he’s a player in form,” Gerrard continued. “He’s been fantastic for us since the start of the season. It’s no shock to me. I play for Liverpool and England with him. His consistency levels, and not just this season but for a long time now, have been very good. He’s certainly up there with the best right-backs in the world.

“I thought their penalty was harsh. If your arm is out away from your body you can understand why referees give handball, but I thought Joe Allen’s arm was close to his body and there wasn’t much he could have really done.

“For the opening half an hour we completely dominated the game and that’s probably played the best we have played since Brendan came in. Having taken the lead, we were very unfortunate to find ourselves 2-1 behind. This is a difficult place to come but we fought back well and got a great result.”

Liverpool’s victory in London was achieved without top-scorer Luis Suarez, who sat out the contest as he served a one-match suspension.

Gerrard believes the manner of the Reds’ triumph — and the fact they came from behind to net three goals — spoke volumes about the character within the camp.

“We showed a lot of character and determination to come back like that,” he said. “Every win does a lot for the group and we did it without not only our top scorer but one of the top scorers in the Premier League.

“People will always doubt you and question what’s going to come from this team. A lot of people have said for years we’re a one-man team or a two-man team. We can’t control what people say and their opinions, but we know we have got a lot of good players here. If we play in the right way and do what the manager asks us then we will win games.”

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