Gerrard still holds title ambition
Wed, 03 Oct 2012 17:44:00
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard knows time is running out for him to end his career-long search for a league title but remains optimistic.
The 32-year-old is confident he will play on beyond the end of his current contract, which expires at the end of next season, but accepts factors are loaded against him to win the championship.
However, having won every other major club honour since making his debut for his hometown club in 1998 it is not in Gerrard's nature to give up on a Premier League winners' medal.
"It is not easy and it is a frustration but it is life, it is football," the midfielder said.
"This is a very hard league to win and there are some fantastic teams about.
"There are thousands of other players in this league who have not achieved what I have achieved so I suppose they are in a similar position to me saying to themselves 'I haven't got a European Cup' - I've played in two European Cup finals.
"I have done an awful lot in the game and yes, the league has eluded me.
"Some of the games I look back on with frustration and regret are the ones we drew at home which cost us the title (in 2008/09 when they finished second, four points behind champions Manchester United).
"I'm not really one who looks back, I look forward, and I am never going to give up fighting for the title.
"But I'm realistic about where the team is at the moment and how much hard work and improvement needs to be done if we are to compete for it.
"Have I got the time on my side? No. Is it impossible? No. Let's just see how the next two or three years go.
"I know I am good enough to play in a side to win the league and I know I am a good enough player to win the league but sometimes stuff is out of your control."
Gerrard has been at the club since the age of nine and although he had offers to leave - twice turning down Chelsea - he has remained loyal to Liverpool, a decision for which he has been criticised.
"I have no regrets over the decisions I have made," said the England international at the launch of his new book My Liverpool Story.
"I am really happy I stayed. I am the captain of the club I love and this club means more to me than any other club out there.
"Of course I'd love a Premier League winner's medal and that may have happened if I'd moved clubs but would that league title mean as much to me as the other trophies I've won here? No - fact."
Since Liverpool ran United so close in 2009 the club's fortunes have taken a significant dip, having finished seventh, sixth and eighth.
That combined with the emergence of other clubs - with Manchester City's spending power winning them the championship last season - has made the Reds' task of regaining a top-four spot, never mind challenging for the title, even more difficult.
"It is no good us worrying about the power of Chelsea and Manchester City," said Gerrard, who believes the club is making positive strides since Brendan Rodgers took over in the summer.
"But there is no two ways about it, if there was no Roman Abramovich (Chelsea owner) or the guy (Sheikh Mansour) who bought Manchester City I'd have two or three league titles sitting here now.
"People who buy football clubs can have too much power for other clubs in the league and that is what has happened.
"We can't compete financially so we need to worry about ourselves and be the best we can be and see where we end up.
"We know what work we have to do ahead: it is going to be tough and other teams in the league as well as City, United and Chelsea are getting stronger.
"It is becoming more and more difficult to finish in the top four but I believe we have the squad and the manager in charge at the moment to certainly push for that and I am confident we can do it.
"If you look at our recent performances we are not far away at all.
"We've not had the results we deserve this season but it is a new set-up, it is not going to click overnight."