Steven Gerrard has praised Liverpool’s strength of character after they overcame a number of obstacles to beat West Ham 2-1 at Upton Park and return to the top of the Premier League.
The victory threatened to be overshadowed by some controversial refereeing decisions -- Andy Carroll appeared to impede Simon Mignolet as West Ham scored an equaliser, and Sam Allardyce questioned the decision which saw Liverpool awarded a second penalty from which they scored the game’s winning goal.
But Liverpool captain Gerrard has revealed that West Ham tried their best to unsettle Brendan Rodgers’ title challengers on and off the pitch.
“It was a very tricky game. We knew what to expect and we got a bit more than we expected -- a hot dressing room, a dry pitch and the bus had to park a mile away,” Gerrard is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.
“I think they tried everything to upset us. It was a good test of character. They were throwing 70 yard balls into our penalty box from every different angle.
“They have got giants in there who are going up with their elbows and we stood really strong.”
Gerrard also singled out Lucas Leiva after the Brazil midfielder continued his return from injury with another impressive display, and in front of national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari who was in London to assess his English-based players ahead of the World Cup.
“Lucas came on and deserves a special mention,” he said. “I think there was a lot of pressure on him, the Brazil coach was there to watch him, he hasn't played much of late but he has worked his socks off to get fit.
“The ball he played for the second goal, people have been raving about [Philippe] Coutinho all year and the passes he has made and for me that was right up there with Brazil's best and it helped up get the win.
“I think it shows what we have got in this squad now. We have got a bit of everything, a bit of class and skill in Suarez, Sturridge and Coutinho but we have got some steel, we have got some lads who want to roll their sleeves up and dig in.”