Gerrard wary of ‘wounded’ Arsenal
LIVERPOOL, England - Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is expecting Arsenal to react like a ‘wounded animal’ when the teams meet in their Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
Published: Tue 9 Feb 2010, 10:37 PM
Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:06 AM
The Gunners’ 2-0 loss to league leaders Chelsea left Arsene Wenger’s side nine points off top spot and seemingly out of the title race.
But England midfielder Gerrard knows what it is like to be written off and is taking nothing for granted.
Losses to the likes of bottom-of-the-table Portsmouth and strugglers Sunderland have scuppered Liverpool’s bid to win a first English title since 1990 after they started the campaign with high hopes, having finished second to champions Manchester United last season.
Then came early exits from the Champions League and FA Cup.
But a seven-match unbeaten run featuring five wins and two draws has lifted Liverpool back into the top four and a win over third-placed Arsenal on Wednesday will see them move to within two points of the Gunners.
‘There have been games this season where we have been beaten and not shown enough fight, enough good attitude and commitment,’ Gerrard told Talk Sport Radio on Tuesday.
‘That’s why we’ve not gotten the results we’ve wanted, but I don’t think anyone can criticise us over the last seven games for the level of commitment.
‘Every single player in the squad has rolled his sleeves up and everyone is fighting for the same thing.’
He added: ‘I’m sure Arsenal will be a bit of a wounded animal on Wednesday.
‘It’s a massive game for us and the target is to try to get a result where we can push on and try to get third place.
‘Our target is a top-four finish but if Arsenal give us any sniff of catching them then we want to grab it, and hopefully that will be on Wednesday night.’
But Liverpool have come under renewed threat this season for a place in next term’s Champions League, with Tottenham, Manchester City and Aston Villa all pushing hard for a top-four finish.
‘We certainly understand the pressure coming from Manchester City, Tottenham and Aston Villa, and also teams behind them,’ Gerrard said.
‘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.
‘A lot of teams are putting in a lot of money and squads are improving all the time. We’ve certainly noticed this year that sides in the middle of the table and below are an awfully lot harder to beat.
‘A couple of years ago, when you played teams lower down the league you would expect to win games comfortably but I don’t think you can say that this season. The lower (placed) teams are taking points off the top sides.’
Liverpool will definitely be without Italian midfielder Alberto Aquilani against Arsenal because of illness while striker Fernando Torres and full-back Glen Johnson are still sidelined through injury.