Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has insisted his team will fight back from the disappointment of losing the FA Cup final but admits the club’s Premier League form is of greater concern.
Liverpool, who face Chelsea in the league at Anfield tomorrow just three days after losing to them at Wembley, face the prospect of ending the campaign as low as 10th in the table and with only a Carling Cup to show for their efforts.
Gerrard insists his team were unfortunate at Wembley, denied an equaliser when referee Phil Dowd refused to accept Andy Caroll’s late header had crossed the line. Now he is looking ahead to a summer of rebuilding — and has vowed to be better next season.
He said: “You have to give the players credit for getting to two finals, but let’s be clear — the league form hasn’t been good enough. We felt that before the FA Cup final and we feel the same now.
“We’ve done exceptionally well in the cups, even though we couldn’t get over the final hurdle in this one. But the league hasn’t been good enough.
“I think we need to find a better level of consistency in the league next season. We haven’t been good enough, it’s as simple as that — no excuses. Us players have to take responsibility; because the players we have got in the dressing room are certainly not eighth place in the Premier League.”
In fact, Liverpool could drop even lower than that if they fail to win their final two games; although Chelsea seem certain to play virtually a reserve side at Anfield tomorrow with a Champions League final to look forward to.
The one consolation, however, was the form of Carroll, who came off the bench to score a crucial goal for Kenny Dalglish’s side, just as he had done in the semi-final against Everton.
Gerrard added: “He changed the way we played; we were a lot better with him in the team, we were more direct, we created more and were more of a threat. Credit to Andy, he’s come on and played brilliantly well. I think his form over the last two or three months has been fantastic and he’ll be pushing for a place back in the England squad.”
Carroll may well feature more often next season, but Gerrard also expects changes over the summer as under-pressure Dalglish revamps his squad.
He said: “We’ll bounce back. We’ll strengthen in the summer and we’ll fight again. That’s what this club does. All the way through my career it’s been about highs and lows and today is a big blow. But we’ll be back and I’ll be back.”
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