LIVERPOOL, April 27 – Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool's season could yet end on a high with the club back in contention for a top four finish in the Premier League as well as gunning for the Europa League trophy.A deeply disappointing campaign had seemed destined for a dispiriting finale after Fernando Torrees was forced to undergo his second knee operation in three months.
But a 3-0 win over West Ham last Monday followed by Sunday’s 4-0 defeat of Burnley – Liverpool’s first away victory in eight attempts – has proved they can score goals without their leading striker.
Gerrard, the Liverpool captain, wants to see that form carried over into Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg meeting with Atletico Madrid and Sunday’s showdown with Chelsea.
"I won’t lie. Sometimes when you lose your top striker, it can damage belief and affect your confidence but this was much better," Gerrard reflected after claiming two of the goals against Burnley.
"It was important we scored a few goals against Burnley and won convincingly. We are now going to pile everything into Thursday’s game, which can’t come quickly enough.
"The players are up for it and we have to leave every bit of sweat and blood out on that pitch on Thursday. Let’s hope we don’t have to score a lot of goals and we can win it with two.
"But if they score we have to score three; we’ll have to adapt during the game and do whatever it takes to win.
"There have been many occasions when we’ve had our backs to the wall and people have doubted us but we go into every game believing we can win and do anything possible to win on the night.
"But we have done it before and we hope to do it again."
Gerrard has struck up a good understanding with January signing Maxi Rodriguez in recent weeks but the Argentinian will be ineligible for Thursday’s match, having played for Atletico earlier in the season.
The England midfielder added: "It would have been great to have him on Thursday because he’s an intelligent player who can unlock defences.
"He is on the same wavelength and, as a footballer, it is a pleasure to play with good players and that is what Maxi is, a fantastic player."
In the league, Liverpool’s hopes of a fourth-place depend on them winning their final two matches. That would take them to 68 points and Tottenham, the side currently in fourth, already have 64 with three games left to play.
"We know it is going to be difficult but, who knows, the clubs above us might slip up," Gerrard said. "We won’t give up but it would be stupid of me to say this or that is going to happen – it’s important to be realistic.
"We are underdogs to sneak this fourth position but our fans know that we have also got Everton breathing down our necks and we certainly don’t want them finishing above us."