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Aug 29, 2012

Gerrard: Liverpool close to title challenge

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has hit back at Sven Goran Eriksson's suggestion that he needs to leave the club in order to win the Premier League.

Eriksson, who managed Gerrard during his spell as England boss, was quoted on Tuesday saying, "I don't begrudge a good guy like Steven winning the Premier League. But maybe he needs to change clubs if he wants to win that title."

However, Gerrard insists Liverpool are closing on being a title-challenging club, having reached the final of both the League and FA Cup last season. However, they have taken just one point from their first two league matches of this campaign, following Sunday's 2-2 draw with Manchester City.

"Hopefully before I hang my boots up I can realise the dream of winning it - but I'm also realistic as well," Gerrard said on Sky Sports News.

"I don't think we're miles away. Of course we have to be realistic, we finished eighth in the league last year but we got to two major cup finals which shows we can compete with anyone on our day.

"If we find a better level of consistency we can find ourselves higher up the table than last year."

Brendan Rodgers has backed Gerrard's view, saying: "I think Steven, over the years, has had a number of chances to leave here, and he's always felt that this was a club where he could still win it. He's still got a number of years left in his career and we hope we will fight for it.

"We understand how difficult it's going to be, but I think he'll still feel that the dream is here. I don't think he needs to move anywhere."

Liverpool started their league season with a 3-0 defeat at West Brom, although there was more encouragement for Rodgers and Gerrard in the performance that brought a 2-2 draw against champions Manchester City last Sunday.

Rodgers added: "This is a club which will go through difficult moments. But his dream is to win the Premier League with Liverpool, and I - along with everyone else at the club - will fight for our lives to try to make that possible.

"He's an iconic figure for this football club. His status - everything he's gained in the game - has been through Liverpool Football Club. He's won every major honour you could possibly win at this club. And obviously there's one missing that he will want to fight for the rest of his career to win here.

"Thankfully with Steven, he's realistic as well. He knows the reality. He's not misguided. Sven obviously had his reasons for saying what he said. But I'm delighted with Steven's contribution. He's been brilliant since I've been here.

"I've seen in from the outside, but from working with him, as a man and as a player, he's a wonderful role model for everyone here. So let's see if we can fight to win it ourselves, and hope that he can stay here and be a real ambassador for the club."

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