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Sep 28, 2012

Steven Gerrard: Liverpool under pressure

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admits the club's winless start to the season has increased the pressure on the players.

The Reds have taken just two points from their opening five Premier League matches, which have included home games against champions Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.

"Of course, it puts more pressure on us," Gerrard said. "If we had won against United and beaten City everyone would be saying about how good a result it was at Sunderland (a 1-1 draw). But because that win hasn't come, it seems as if we dropped points at Sunderland, so it is no good getting a point from these tough away games anymore, we need to win them."

Liverpool now has fixtures against Norwich on Saturday, Stoke and Reading (both at home) from which, ordinarily, it would be expected to take at least seven points.

However, Gerrard believes their current low points tally means away draws at places like Carrow Road are no longer acceptable.

"We have a run of games coming up now where there are points we should be taking but the longer (not winning) goes on the more difficult it is going to get so it is important against Norwich we take maximum points," said the 32-year-old Gerrard. "If you look at the performances against City and United we should have six (more) points so it is not a case of 'they're out the way now, let's go beat the sides we should beat.'

"I think what we need to do is keep playing like we have done and hopefully we'll get the rub of the green, get referee's decisions in our favor and we will go on and take maximum points."

Liverpool has had no problem dominating games, as highlighted last weekend when despite Jonjo Shelvey's first-half red card it still controlled the majority of possession against United -- but lost 2-1.

The Reds have scored only four goals in five league matches -- and two of those came against Manchester City.

Manager Brendan Rodgers believes the United game was a turning point and as they head to Norfolk, where last season Luis Suarez scored a brilliant hat trick in a 3-0 win, he feels things are finally starting to come together.

"We know it is a difficult place to go -- the last three seasons Norwich have been strong at Carrow Road -- but if we can get the same result as last year we'll be fine," he said. "Certainly our opening five fixtures were always going to be tough but we have that mentality within the group that we have been looking for and the balance in the team is good and the spirit is strong.

"All I can control is our own preparation: The work ethic of the team and the confidence -- and ultimately that will lead to success. The confidence within the team is very high. Even though we haven't won in the Premier League it is still strong.

"Now they have adapted well to what I have been asking them to do -- and there is still a lot of improvement to make -- I know for sure the rub of the green will come very soon. Hopefully now we can go on a win and get the results which relate to performances."

Suarez has scored half of Liverpool's league goals this season but while he has troubled defenses with his running he admits he has still has work to do to find his best form in front of goal.

"I know myself that I can still up my game that little bit because it's a striker's job to score goals," said the Uruguay international.

Rodgers has called for all his players to be more positive when they get in the penalty area.

"It is not about looking a good player, it is about being a good player and being an effective player," he said. "It is important when you play you have a cutting edge to your team. The number of attempts and shots on target has been very high, what has been not so good is the conversion rate but I've every faith that will come.

"If we keep playing how we are playing the goals will start to go in for sure."

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