Gerrard out to avert Liverpool 'meltdown'
Steven Gerrard says he will do everything in his power to ensure Graeme Souness was wrong to predict a Liverpool 'meltdown'.
Liverpool have been knocked out of the Champions League and face strong competition to secure a top-four place this season, and former Reds boss Souness suggested this week that the club could be forced to sell the likes of Fernando Torres and enter a downward spiral as a result of their poor form on the pitch.
Rafael Benitez has already hit back at Souness and fellow panellist Jurgen Klinsmann for their comments about the club, but Gerrard feels his responsibility is simply to ensure Liverpool return to form on the field and book their place in Europe's premier competition for next season.
"Meltdown is for him to say," he said. "I can't predict that far ahead but, for me as captain, I've got to make sure that doesn't happen. We're up for the challenge - there's no time for hiding.
"We need to get out there, roll up our sleeves and get this football club back where it belongs - that's as far up the league as possible. We're the players that are responsible for where we are in the league so we need to get it right.
"We must play better. We need to get back into a top-four position as soon as possible. It is the number one priority now. At the start of the season, we had intentions of being in the title race, especially after finishing second last year.
"That was a big confidence boost. It gave us the belief we could fight all the way, but we've had a bad start. The idea now is to get people back fit, get back to full strength and start moving up the league. I'm confident we can do that if we get everyone back fit."
Liverpool face a potentially crucial match against Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday and a victory would go along way to restoring belief at the club. Gerrard, though, feels every league game now has to be treated as vitally important to their campaign.
"Arsenal is a massive game, especially considering our league position," he said. "Every game now is massive - a cup final if you like. It would be nice if we could get Fernando [Torres] in from the start and get about Arsenal because I'm sure they fear us as much as we fear them.
"It's very difficult playing Arsenal because they are one of the best teams in Europe at passing the ball very quickly. We have to press them high up and try to force them into mistakes. If we stand off and let them play, they'll kill us."