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Steven Gerrard: My goal could be season’s best

Steven Gerrard: My goal could be season’s best

Aug 13 2007

by Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo

Steven Gerrard

STEVEN GERRARD today acclaimed his first goal of the season as potentially the most important.

Gerrard’s match-winning free-kick handed Liverpool the win they craved as they seek early momentum for an improved Premiership campaign.

And the skipper says the celebrations which followed the 2-1 victory at Villa Park underlined how much it meant to all the players to claim an elusive first day success – a feat Rafa Benitez hadn’t enjoyed since arriving at Anfield.

“I was getting flashbacks to the Middlesbrough game two years ago both from a personal and team point of view,” said Gerrard. “ I had a load of chances to score, just like in that game, and the one worry when all the celebrations died down is we know we should have had the game won earlier.

“But the main thing is we did win and deserved it. The performance was, at times, very good.

“I know it’s early but I hope it turns out to be one of the most important goals this season because all the lads have been saying through pre-season how much we wanted a good start.

“To have not won that game would have been devastating for us after the way we played, but now we feel we can build some momentum, and that’s been shown to be so important in this league.

“You just can’t afford to fall behind to the leaders like we have in the past.

“That’s why you could see how much it meant to us to win and we were buzzing in the dressing room afterwards.

“It was pleasing to see so many good all-round performances on Saturday. Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel did really well.”

Gerrard’s midfield role has been the subject of much discussion already, but he believes Benitez will continue to get the right tactics when it counts, no matter where he plays.

“To be honest, I don’t think all the focus on whether I play in the middle is fair on me, the team or the manager,” he said. “Whether I play in the centre or on the right, I’ll always continue to work as hard as I can for the team. What’s most important to me is the manager trusts me to play in the middle, and we all trust him to make the right choices for the balance of the side.

“I know there will be times when he’ll think Xabi and me playing together is the best option, and occasions when he’ll use others there and may ask me to do a different role.

“The manager has said we’ll be more positive, but we know that may make us weaker at the back, so we have to be careful.

“It’s not just about going all out attack every week against every team, but getting the balance right.

“A different system will suit different teams. Everyone understands that, so different personnel will be used throughout the season.”

Benitez is likely to ring the changes for the Champions League qualifier on Wednesday, with Peter Crouch and Yossi Benayoun expected to be involved.


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