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Gerrard: it's fight to finish

WATCH your back Liverpool. Steven Gerrard has warned his improving team-mates to budget for some serious pressure in the next few months while rivals for the fourth Champions League slot pile up behind him.

While Chelsea and Manchester United go head-to-head for the title, Gerrard believes that a decent result against Arsenal at the Emirates tonight would help Liverpool focus their minds on third place, following a run of form which has seen Rafa Benitez claim 17 points from the last 21.

With Manchester City recording a comfortable 2-0 win over Bolton last night, the fourth place race has become even more intense but Gerrard has a simple answer for that.

"We're treating every game like a cup final at the moment because we're desperate for this top four. We certainly understand the pressure coming from Manchester City, Tottenham and Aston Villa, and also teams behind them.

"The target tonight is to try and get a result where we can push on and try and get third place," said the Anfield skipper.

"Obviously, at the end of the season our target is a top-four finish, but if Arsenal give us any sniff of catching them then we want to grab it.

"I wouldn't say confidence is sky-high in the dressing room, but it's certainly on the way up. It's certainly improving; we're on a good run. But we're not playing terrifically well, to be honest.

"We've got to take the criticism on the chin because there have been games this season where we've been beaten and we haven't shown enough fight. But I don't think anyone can criticise us over the last six games as far as effort and commitment is concerned.

"We've got 17 points out of 21 and we've set the standard now that we want to maintain until the end of the season. If we do that, I'm very confident we can reach that top four.

"Because the top four is so important financially to everyone and because every player in the league wants to experience Champions League football, there's a lot of teams fighting for it.

"I don't think you can call it the top four any more. A lot of teams are putting a lot of money in and we've certainly noticed it this year, that sides in the middle of the table and down below are making themselves an awful lot harder to beat," concluded Gerrard.