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Gerrard: Slump 'not good enough'

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has called on his team-mates to take responsibility for the slump that has seen them drift ten points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

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Liverpool suffered a third consecutive league defeat for the first time since 2003 on Saturday when they were beaten 1-0 at Sunderland, and currently sit seventh in the table. Rumours of a protest against Kenny Dalglish's management of the club were stirred on Twitter after the defeat, but Gerrard says there were "no excuses" for his side's display.

"The players need to take responsibility for where we are in the league," Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo. "It's just not good enough for a club like us to be there. We have to find a better level of consistency.

"We need a reaction and there's no better team to produce that against than Everton. It's important the players put in a performance and get a result for the fans. Everyone is a bit down after recent results but we want to put a smile back on their faces.

"It's a big week and we want to go into that cup tie with Stoke on the back of a win."

Liverpool's Carling Cup win was a boost, but did not inspire an improvement in the club's Premier League form, although Gerrard - who will return to the side for the midweek Merseyside derby against Everton - insists that they can still finish fourth.

"It's going to be difficult now but we won't give up," he added. "It's not officially gone and we'll keep going but we've got a mountain to climb. We just have to focus on winning as many as we can between now and the end of the season and see what happens."

Manager Kenny Dalglish added that it was not just the squad who were accountable but all staff at the club.

''It is important the players take responsibility in every game but we are not in isolation,'' he said. ''It is not the players taking responsibility this week and someone else has to do it next week.

''Everyone needs to take responsibility. Everyone needs to stand up and be counted and stand together and see what we can do.''

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