Gerrard urges Reds to focus on task ahead

STEVEN GERRARD has attempted to curb the title fever sweeping through Liverpool after his side’s historic victory at Stamford Bridge and re-focus his team on tomorrow’s game against Portsmouth at Anfield.

Liverpool captain Gerrard admits ending Chelsea’s 86-match unbeaten home run has catapulted his side into unchartered territory as serious title contenders.

But as fans and pundits begin to talk of the possibility of ending a 19-year title wait Gerrard says there is good reason to calm down and take stock.

Gerrard said: “We’re only in October. We’re in a nice position but Chelsea are a fantastic side who will come back and Manchester United will be there or thereabouts.

“We’ve won nothing yet. It was a massive win and three big points but if we slip up against Portsmouth then those points will be irrelevant.

“To win this league and become champions you have to handle the pressure of being at the top. That’s the challenge for us now. Can we handle being top of the league?

“We’ve done superbly well so far, we’re unbeaten, and we have to keep that going now, starting against Portsmouth.”

Liverpool go into the game against managerless Portsmouth as massive favourites but aware that any slip up would have a serious effect on morale at such a crucial stage of the season.

But confidence is clearly high after Sunday’s victory in west London, especially as Chelsea had been unbeatable at home for so long.

“It was a big incentive for us to go there and take their unbeaten record off them,” said Gerrard. “We were really organised, really compact and I thought the four lads at the back and the goalkeeper were superb.

“From back to front we were resilient and made it really difficult for them.

“We understand the expectations after a win like that. But from our point of view now it’s all about the next game and trying to get another win.”

Gerrard’s midfield partner Xabi Alonso, scorer of the all-important winner at Stamford Bridge, has echoed his captain’s sentiments and called for calm heads at Anfield tomorrow.

The Spaniard said: “We have to stay calm. It was a great victory at Chelsea but it is only three points. The three points against Chelsea are as important as the three points against Wigan and the three that are available against Portsmouth on Wednesday – they are all of the same value. We must remember that.”

Meanwhile Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has grudgingly accepted Liverpool are now serious title contenders but warned Rafa Benitez’s side that Chelsea will be thinking of revenge when they play at Anfield in January.

Cech admits he is feeling a little disorientated after losing a league match at Stamford Bridge for the first time in his career but doesn’t believe it is the end of his team’s title challenge.

He said: “It was a disappointing result for us and it was a strange feeling for me at the end because I have never lost a Premier League game at home in my Chelsea career. But the disappointing thing is we wanted to stay top of the league and we are not.

“So we have to bounce back. Defeats happen in football and you have to forget about it and start again.

“It has been a great run. I don’t think anyone will get close to going 86 games unbeaten at home again because it is such a fantastic record.

“But now it is ended we have to think of Hull on Wednesday. We have the same amount of points and we need to bounce back with a victory.”

Cech is adamant Chelsea will bounce back to challenge for the title but admits Liverpool are now serious contenders too. He said: “They are top of the league and are genuine contenders. They didn’t play very well at the start of the season, but have been getting results. Against us they were well organised and knew exactly what to do. The plan was simple, to defend well and not allow us any space.


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