Gerrard wants Champions League 'consolation'

December 5, 2006

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard hopes the Reds have the firepower to claim some 'consolation' for Premiership failure this season by winning a sixth European Cup for the club.

Gerrard - rested along with three other Liverpool heavyweights with a busy Christmas schedule in mind - will be watching from afar tonight when Liverpool return to the scene of their greatest triumph of the last two decades.

With his team preparing to take on Galatasaray in Istanbul's Ataturk Stadium - where he famously helped to inspire their second-half fightback to claim the Champions League title at the expense of AC Milan 18 months ago - Gerrard believes the 2006/7 team are capable of similar heroics.

Jamie Carragher will lead Liverpool in Gerrard's absence, in a final Group C match which will start with the Reds already sure of their place in the last 16 of this season's competition.

And Gerrard said: 'Because of the disappointing start we have had in the Premiership, if we're realistic we have got to try even harder in the cups now.

'The Champions League would be a big consolation.'

He admits the Reds will not want for motivation.

'I want to win the Champions League again. The team want to do it again,' said Gerrard.

'It's easy to live off the memory of that success two seasons ago - to milk it and keep thinking about it.

'But if you dwell on what you have achieved that's when you lose your hunger.

'It would be a terrific achievement, not just for me, but the whole squad, to become European champions again.

'We have had a taste of it before, so it gives you that extra incentive in these Champions League games to try to progress.'

Group winners Liverpool will have the benefit of second-leg home advantage in the next round and Gerrard's hopes are high for the knockout stages.

'It's a massive competition. You saw the reaction in the city when we won it in 2005. If we were to repeat that Liverpool would go crazy again,' he added.

'That feeling of lifting the European Cup will never go away. I will never forget 2005 - and neither will the supporters.'

Gerrard, Jose Reina, Sami Hyypia and Steve Finnan have all been excused this week's trip, having been four of the club's busiest players so far this term.

Manager Rafael Benitez has taken a clutch of youngsters with him to Turkey including full-back Stephen Darby, captain of last season's FA Youth Cup winning side, for his first call-up to the senior squad.

Other youngsters included are Danny Guthrie, Lee Peltier, goalkeeper David Martin and midfielder Miki Roque.