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By ESPN Staff

Gerrard confident of strong challenge next season

Steven Gerrard has the taste for winning the Premier League title - and believes Liverpool now have the necessary experience to claim top spot.

The Reds have pushed Manchester United all the way this season but had to admit defeat when United picked up a point from a 0-0 draw with Arsenal to seal a third successive crown.

Gerrard expects manager Rafael Benitez to add to his squad this summer and is optimistic about their chances for next term.

The 28-year-old told The People: "The couple of signings the manager will make this summer are really key to us getting over that final hurdle, because we know that maybe with a couple of per cent more we could have won it this time.

"This is the first time I've been involved in a title race that has lasted the distance and the buzz of running United really close has been so enjoyable that I want more of it.

"I'll have certain regrets when the season ends but I don't normally like looking back, to be honest.

"This time I'm going to use the experience to drive me on and try to win the title over the next few years. We certainly have the ability, as we've shown this year.

"It's a hard league to win and it's taught me that you do need the experience of being in title races to win them. I think because Chelsea and United both have that experience, maybe that's where we've come unstuck.

"Sometimes you just have to go for it and take big risks to win the kind of games that we have drawn. But we've learned a lot and I think next year could be our year - I'm really confident about that.''

Gerrard has so far been a one-club player, and he expects it to stay that way.

The England midfielder agreed a two-year extension to his current deal last month, keeping him at the club until 2013.

He continued: "I am on the verge of signing it now, there are just a couple of minor details, so I am hoping I can sign it before I go off on my holidays.

"This is a big contract for me and it's likely to be my final one. It takes me to 33 but I feel I'm in the prime of my footballing career at the moment.

"I feel confident and strong and I feel really good when I'm out on the pitch. The aim for me now is to stay fit for the next four years and try to play as many games as I can and win as many trophies as I can.

"I'm getting greedy when it comes to winning trophies because I know I have to win as many as I can before it's too late.''

This season has been far from smooth off the pitch with Gerrard facing a probable July court appearance after an incident in a Southport bar.

He added: "I've had to deal with a situation this season that's been difficult and if that had happened to me four or five years ago, it would have affected my form, I've no doubts about that.

"But, with age, experience and maturity, I have learned to park my problems or things on my mind until after a game. I have learned to deal with it in my own way and get on with life.''


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