LIVERPOOL, January 29 – Steven Gerrard has urged Liverpool to take advantage of some home comforts and strengthen their chances of securing a top- four finish this season, starting with Saturday's visit of struggling Bolton.The encounter with Owen Coyle’s side is followed by the visit of Merseyside rivals Everton and Gerrard believes the brace of games at Anfield represent a wonderful chance for his team to turn up the pressure on Tottenham, who currently occupy the place above them that Rafa Benitez’s men covet so badly.
The mood around Benitez’s squad has been sombre in the wake of their disappointing goalless draw at Wolves in mid-week, when Liverpool dropped two more points and, more worryingly, hardly gave home goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann a save to make.
The point nevertheless enabled them to climb above Manchester City into fifth place and extended their unbeaten run to five league games.
Gerrard is convinced confidence is growing in the camp and that Liverpool have turned the corner following the damaging slump earlier in the season.
The England midfielder believes Liverpool would have buckled and been beaten in a similar sort of game earlier in the season to the one they experienced at Molinuex.
Now he has set his sights on re-igniting Liverpool’s chances of Champions League qualification, despite the fact leading scorer Fernando Torres remains sidelined.
Gerrard said: "We will keep fighting for that fourth spot. We’ve got a couple of home games coming up and, if we take maximum points, I’m sure we’ll edge into that top four.
"The important thing is that we are now playing better. We’ve turned the corner and we are a much more difficult team to beat now.
"We would probably have lost that (Wolves) game 1-0 a couple of months back. Confidence was certainly low a few weeks ago.
"The squad was suffering a lot of injuries and, when you are not getting the results you expect, it affects people’s confidence individually and as a group.
"But we’ve had a couple of encouraging results. Stoke away was a tough game and we got a point and the lads performed fantastically well against Tottenham.
"Confidence is slowly coming back and, once that confidence is back, results will follow. We are very confident we can eventually edge into that top four."
Gerrard insists the pain of past failings this season is now driving his side towards success and he added: "There were a lot of people in the dressing room hurt at seeing us lying in seventh and eighth position in the Premier League and you learn a lot from these situations when times are hard.
"We have looked at each other and we wanted to put it right. The most important thing for me over the last four or five games has been the character and the desire the players have shown. Nobody is hiding and that’s a big positive.
"Everyone knows this team has been through a difficult period. But we have shown we can dig in and battle. We know results will improve."
Bolton will arrive at Anfield in confident mood following their crucial mid-week win over fellow strugglers Burnley and Coyle, who is hoping to sign Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere on-loan in time for this game, said: "We are still very much a work in progress so no-one is getting carried away.
"We know this will be hugely difficult for us. When Liverpool are in full throttle Anfield can be a daunting arena.
"They’ve had a stop-start season but we have to recognise that when they are on top of their game Liverpool are a very good team.
"They have top quality players and are desperate to get back into that top four, so we are going to have to be very respectful. But we have to go there and be brave and take the game to them whenever we can."