• Premier League

Gerrard and Rodgers at odds over title

ESPN staff
March 16, 2014
Steven Gerrard insists Liverpool will fight for the Premier League title © PA Photos

Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool have "no chance" of winning the Premier League title but, in stark contrast, captain Steven Gerrard is adamant they are now genuine contenders.

Liverpool completely outclassed Manchester United as they cruised to a 3-0 rout at Old Trafford on Sunday to move within four points of league leaders Chelsea. However, Rodgers played down talk of his side winning a first English top-flight crown since 1990.

When asked in his post-match press conference if Liverpool could win the league, Rodgers replied there was "no chance. If you think we have a chance, write it," before seeking to soften his stance later.

But Gerrard, who scored two penalties and missed a third for his hat-trick, believes Liverpool should be taken seriously in the title race.

"I think we've shown today that we're genuine contenders and we're going to fight until the end for this," Gerrard told Sky Sports.

"We believe it. I've said it many times, in football it's one of the easiest things to talk the talk - we've got to go and treat Cardiff like Manchester United. We've got to treat Sunderland like Manchester United and if we do we'll win a lot of games from now until the end of the season.

"With the rest of the people that are fighting for it with us, we've got to believe we're going for it."

Despite holding a different view to Rodgers over Liverpool's Premier League ambitions, Gerrard reserved special praise for his manager after they demolished their old adversaries in Manchester.

"I think you've got to give credit to the manager - he keeps switching and tinkering with the formation and the tactics," Gerrard said. "We totally bossed the middle of the park. When you come away from home you've got to keep the ball and dominate the middle of the pitch and we know we did that.

"We've got two of the best strikers in the world to go and do the damage. I'm sure if you asked the Manchester United defenders today I don't think they've ever had a harder 90 minutes than that.

"This is one of the most difficult places to come in the Premier League, so to come here and dominate from start to finish we're still going away slightly disappointed that we didn't score more goals."

Gerrard squandered his chance of a hat-trick when hitting the post with his third penalty, which was awarded after Sturridge appeared to dive under challenge from Nemanja Vidic. However, referee Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot and showed Vidic a second yellow card, but Gerrard could not cap an otherwise brilliant afternoon for himself.

"It's a fantastic day personally, I got a couple of goals but we came here to win the game," Gerrard said. "We need to just take each game as it comes and try and win them all. We need to enjoy tonight and move on very quickly because we know Cardiiff's going to be tough.

"It was strange. I maybe went a little bit cocky with the third one. I was confident I was going to score the third, but I'm very pleased to score the two important ones."

At least Gerrard will not be in trouble for appearing to go off-message about Liverpool's title chances, with Rodgers saying talking up their chances has not being off limits.

"I've not banned it," the manager said. "We have better things to talk about.

"It is about improving and getting better. I don't lose sleep over it. We are up there on merit so of course we have an opportunity. I didn't say [we have] no chance. If you think we have a chance then write it. I try to not expect so much and let the players do the talking. We try to remain dignified in our work and our players are doing all the talking.

"We will focus on the next game against Cardiff [on Saturday].

"I think other teams will drop points -- we may well drop points, we may not -- but I can only look at our next game and I've done that since I walked through the door and I'm not going to change."

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