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Dec 10, 2012

Gerrard targets top-four tilt

Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool can make a serious push for the Champions League after they finally climbed into the Premier League's top half.

• Blog: Momentum strikes

Sunday's 3-2 victory at West Ham gave manager Brendan Rodgers back-to-back league victories for the first time since he took over at Anfield in the summer.

It also ensured Liverpool rose to 10th in the table, their highest position of the season, and are now only four points behind fourth-placed Everton.

The fact that Rodgers' side came back from 2-1 to win the game, and did so without suspended top scorer Luis Suarez, has given Gerrard plenty of reason for optimism.

"I'm really pleased with the lads. It was a fantastic performance," Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo.

"I think before the game people were doubting us and thinking we would be a bit toothless in the final third without our top striker.

"But we've gone away from home, scored three goals and got the three points we came here for."

Liverpool were in the relegation zone in mid-September after making their worst start to a season since 1911, collecting two points from their opening five matches.

They have suffered only one defeat in 12 league games since then, but had been unable to pick up back-to-back wins as a consequence of drawing five matches during that run.

After beating Southampton 1-0 a week ago, Liverpool had to toil to find a victory at Upton Park, leading through a spectacular Glen Johnson effort, but then going behind to Mark Noble's penalty and a Gerrard own goal.

But substitute Joe Cole - like Johnson, a former West Ham player - equalised with 14 minutes left, before a James Collins own goal gave Rodgers' men victory.

"We're building slowly towards where we want to be," Gerrard said. "We've got two home games now against Aston Villa and Fulham.

"If we can capitalise and make it 12 points out of 12, then we will find ourselves a lot closer to fourth.

"It's a platform to build on. We just have to focus on Villa now. Come the end of December we're really looking to be close to that fourth position."

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