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May 2, 2014

Rodgers: Gerrard will return stronger

FC's Stewart Robson and Shaka Hislop discuss Chelsea's tactics in their 2-0 win over Liverpool.

LIVERPOOL -- Steven Gerrard will bounce back a stronger player for the slip that dented Liverpool's Premier League title chances, according to Brendan Rodgers.

Steven Gerrard knows his mistake has handed a goal to Chelsea's Demba Ba.
Steven Gerrard's slip against Chelsea means the title is no longer in Liverpool's hands.

• Kelly: It's time to stand tall
• Macintosh: Fighting spirit
• Brewin: City's Everton curse

The England captain lost his footing and allowed striker Demba Ba to score the opener for Chelsea in a 2-0 victory at Anfield last Sunday.

It means that Liverpool's title destiny is effectively out of their own hands, even though they are two points clear of Jose Mourinho's side at the top with two games to go.

That is because third-placed Manchester City, who are three points behind, have a game in hand and a superior goal difference.

Liverpool boss Rodgers insists that club captain Gerrard, 33, did not need lifting after the error, and will be as significant as ever when the Reds visit Crystal Palace on Monday.

"Stevie was like we all were. We all hurt. But it's important to keep a sense of perspective," he told his pregame news conference on Friday.

"It was a big game. He played really well. It was just unfortunate that he made the slip and Demba Ba went through to finish really well.

"Steven's a guy who has picked himself up over the years after disappointments and he will do it again. He's a real good man.

"And I think it was a wee bit over-analysed as well. The guy slipped. Bless him. That could happen to anyone. Unfortunately, it led to the goal. It happens and we move on."

Liverpool's title hopes would be boosted significantly if Manuel Pellegrini's men were to drop points at the Reds' city rivals Everton on Saturday.

Toffees boss Roberto Martinez has pledged to do all he can to win the game -- but for his own team's benefit, rather than Liverpool's.

City have won only once at Goodison Park in 20 years, and Rodgers expects Martinez and his team to make it tough tomorrow too.

"I've read some bits and pieces on Everton not wanting to do Liverpool a favour," he continued. "Everton, in their own right, are a great club. They've done really well this year, particularly at home, and they're fighting for a Champions League position.

"They've got outstanding players, and will be looking to get a result. We will do what we've always done, and concentrate on the next game. If we win our next two games, we'll see where it takes us.

"Everton have their own reasons to do the job. They won't need many more supporters than those they have. I'm sure Everton will play extremely well and look to get the result that they want."

Asked if he would follow Saturday's match on television, Rodgers added: "I probably will. I'm not one of those who says he'll be on a golf course. I love football. I watch every type of game, so I'm sure I'll be watching it somewhere."

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