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Steven Gerrard eyes title target

Steven Gerrard eyes title target

Jul 23 2007

by Chris Bascombe with the Reds in China, Liverpool Echo

Steven Gerrard answers questions in Hong Kong

LIVERPOOL skipper Steven Gerrard says he’s sure this year’s scrap for the Premiership won’t become a typical ‘two-horse race’.

Gerrard has confidence Liverpool and Arsenal can gatecrash the Chelsea and Manchester United show which has dominated recent seasons.

And the captain also revealed he’s putting domestic duties above his European ambitions as he goes flat out for the one medal which has so far eluded him.

Speaking in Hong Kong today, Gerrard said: “We’re stronger as a team and a squad this season. I’m really happy with the players the gaffer has brought in.

“We’re very ambitious and we know what’s expected from us. The manager has been backed with good money this summer and he’s spent it well, but now is the time for us to deliver.

“The Premier League is our main priority. That’s the one we want most of all. If I could pick one trophy to win it would be the league because from a purely selfish point of view it’s the only one I haven’t won. Having said that, if we win the European Cup this year you won’t see me upset at the end of the season, either.

“It would be stupid of me to make promises to the supporters saying we’re going to do this or that, but what I can promise is we’ll have a right go and work hard to try and close that gap. We don’t feel we’re that far away, and with the players we have and the new signings, we can play a part in the title race.

“All the big clubs have made big signings, and so have some of those behind us. Chelsea will be upset to have lost out to Manchester United last season, just like us, and will be stronger. It will be a tough race, but ourselves and Arsenal will improve. There will be more teams involved than the usual two.

“I hope the African Nations Cup has a factor because we only have one player affected. I hope all the other clubs’ African players will be tired, particularly when we play them.”

Gerrard hailed the purchase of Fernando Torres when the Spanish striker joined the club, and he says his first glimpses of the striker in training have confirmed his sense of excitement.

He said: “I was impressed with Fernando when we signed him, but in the short period of time I’ve worked with him I’ve been impressed even more. He’s not come in as a star name. He’s come to work hard. He’s the type of player we need, and we’re excited to have him. Hopefully, he’s going to be the one who scores all the goals to win us trophies.

“He’ll have quality players here who can set him up and he can achieve everything he wants here.”

Torres joined Gerrard and manager Rafa Benitez at today’s introductory Press conference in China.

The new signing said the attention shown to the team underlined why he joined the club.

“I was considered a star in Spain, but the Liverpool players are famous around the world,” explained the 23-year-old.

As usual, the Chinese media displayed their ability to ask cheeky questions with a polite smile.

“Will you play Steven Gerrard in the middle more this season,” it was put to Benitez, prompting the humorous aside, ‘good question,’ from the captain.

“He could be a left winger,” was the manager’s response.

“Why do you favour a conservative style of football?” Benitez was also asked.

After acknowledging the remark with a grin of his own, Benitez answered: “We are not conservative. We are good in defence. There are a some teams who are not so good in defence.

“We have shown we can defend and attack, but what we needed was a player who can convert all the chances we create. That’s why we’ve bought Torres.


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