Gerrard hits back at Liverpool critics
Published 12/10/2010 | 11:49
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has given his full backing to striker Fernando Torres and manager Roy Hodgson after both came in for early-season criticism.
Torres has scored just once while Hodgson, who took over from predecessor Rafael Benitez on July 1, has overseen one Barclays Premier League victory which has contributed to the side slumping to 18th in the table.
But Gerrard, who has been one of the few Liverpool players to rise above mediocrity in the current campaign, insists it is wrong to single out either player or manager.
"It's all completely over the top," he said.
"It's easy to watch a football match and if the centre-forward doesn't score or pull a rabbit out of a hat, say his body language isn't right.
"If a player's form isn't there or he's fighting for full fitness after injuries it's normal that their body language isn't perfect.
"If I'm not playing at the levels I know I can, or if I'm struggling with an injury, people say the same things about me.
"The only time a centre-forward's body language is 100 per cent right is when they're scoring in every game, that's the way they are.
"That's why players like that are the best in the world, because if they come off the pitch without scoring or producing a nine out of 10 or 10 out of 10 performance they're not happy.
"You only have to look at Fernando's record since he walked through the door to know how good he is but he's had a bad time with injuries of late.
"He wasn't 100pc going into the World Cup and he had a lot of criticism over the summer but he'll bounce back.
"We all believe in him, he's our top man. He's a top player and he's our goalscorer.
"We all need to get behind Fernando and help him to get back to the form he showed in his first season here.
"On that form he's the best centre-forward in the world."
Gerrard also said the poor performances this season could not just be pinned on Hodgson, who has had to cope with a number of squad changes and the on-going ownership issues.
It means the side go into Sunday's derby with Everton at Goodison Park on the back of their worst top-flight season since 1953-54, when they were relegated.
"It's unfair for people to just blame the manager for the bad start to the season," he told LFC Weekly.
"We're all in this together, everyone at the club, from top to bottom.
"We've all got to accept responsibility and pull together if we are to turn things around.
"A good win in the derby would be the perfect way to start doing that.
"We've had some wonderful Champions League nights at Anfield and I'm sure the supporters would agree with me when I say we want all that back.
"Obviously the only way to bring it back is to finish in the top four places.
"That's the main priority for the club and the players. It's where we belong.
"Over the last five or six years we've proved that we're one of a number of clubs that deserve to be at that level and we are all determined to get back to it."