Reina: We must follow leader Gerrard

Liverpool 'keeper says rest of squad must be at skipper's level to win more silverware

Carl Markham

LIVERPOOL goalkeeper Jose Reina believes the example set by captain Steven Gerrard is one every player at the club has to follow.

Gerrard led from the front with a hat-trick in Tuesday's 3-0 victory over Everton in the 217th Merseyside derby.

The England midfielder has been the Reds' driving force for a number of years and Reina said the squad had to follow the 31-year-old's lead.

"For me it is a pleasure to play alongside him," the Spain international said. "He is a legend of this club and he is still hungry for titles.

"He is an example on and off the pitch and we have to follow that example because that is what Liverpool is all about."

Having got their Barclays Premier League campaign back on track by avoiding a fourth successive defeat, Reina said their full focus was now on Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final with Stoke at Anfield.

"We have been through a weak spell in recent weeks but that is this league, all the teams have been having ups and downs and we had to recover and get back on track," the 29-year-old said.

"The derby win has been a real boost for us. This team I can guarantee has plenty of character and we have another game on Sunday.

"I can say it is almost the most important game of the season. It is a cup final for us because it is an opportunity to get back to Wembley and that means a lot for us and the club.

"To take one more step closer to a title is an opportunity for us. We have to play our best and we will be all right. Playing at Anfield will be something to take advantage of."

After winning the Carling Cup at Wembley last month, the club's first trophy in six years, Gerrard is keen to make a swift return to the capital.

"It is a massive game. We have to treat it like the cup final," he said. "We need to put in a massive performance because we want to take the supporters to Wembley for a second time (this season)."

Goalscoring has been a major source of frustration for Liverpool and Stoke left Anfield in January with a goalless draw in the league encounter.

But after his hat-trick, Gerrard hopes the side have found a way to turn their dominance into something more substantial.

"You can talk about luck and things not going your way, but we have to take responsibility to put the ball in the back of the net," he added.