Wednesday 21 February 2018

Gerrard demands 'bottle' from Reds

Carl Markham

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has called on his side to show "a bit of bottle" when it comes to attacking.

Despite improving what was a poor defensive record by their standards over recent weeks, critics still complain the Reds do not have enough going forward to really hurt sides.

The 3-1 victory over Europa League last-32 opponents Unirea Urziceni in Bucharest on Thursday night was the first time since the 6-1 win over Wolves on September 26 that they had scored more than twice in a match.

Gerrard hopes the players can draw some inspiration from that in their bid to secure Champions League football next season, starting against Blackburn at Anfield tomorrow.

"It was slightly worrying that we were not creating enough," said the England international.

"To win football matches you have got to create a lot of chances and we did that. That's what made last night so pleasing. Now we've got to get the balance right between now and the end of the season.

"We haven't been good enough going forward and we haven't been creating enough, so it was nice to get three goals.

"It does play on your mind. The most important thing is to defend well and keep clean sheets, but it is also important that you do well going forward."

Gerrard scored the third goal against the Romanian champions at the Steaua Stadium to set a new record.

He has now struck 33 times in European competition, taking him past Alan Shearer as the leading British scorer.

"From a personal point of view, it's always great to break records," added Gerrard, who scored his first goal since January 2.

Despite struggling at times against Unirea the Reds captain believes Liverpool have what it takes to reach the Europa League final in Hamburg in May.

"Every competition is very important to this football club, especially when you've gone out of other tournaments," he said.

"This is our last hope of silverware, and it would be terrific if we could go all the way to the final for the fans that have supported us this season."

It was not all good news from Bucharest, however, after it was confirmed defender Martin Skrtel had broken a metatarsal in his right foot.

Irish Independent

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