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14 May 2008 11:26
Steven Gerrard admits Liverpool will only challenge for the Premier League title next season if Rafa Benitez spends big money.
Gerrard is desperate to make up for another disappointing domestic campaign after Benitez’s side slipped out of the title race by Christmas and finished nine points behind champions Manchester United.
Gerrard knows that gap won’t be closed unless Benitez is given substantial backing from the Anfield board to bring in several world-class players.
Benitez has already met Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks to draw up a transfer battle plan, with Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry and Borussia Dortmund defender Philip Degn on his wanted list, but Gerrard wants more investment from the Anfield hierarchy.
“Obviously I have to be careful that I don’t send expectations through the roof again, but for me I am desperate for it [a title challenge]. I believe in this team and this manager and believe we can make it happen,” Gerrard said.
“We need help and new players and the manager needs help from the board to make these signings happen and make us stronger.
“I don’t know much about Rafa’s transfer plans.
He doesn’t call me in and tell me names.
“But he does assure me and the other players that if anyone becomes available who would strengthen the side, then he will go out and buy them.
“Sometimes you have to realise there are other sides that are as good as us who are strengthening and working hard as well. They want it just as much as us.
“But it has been a long time for this club [since winning the league], so we all maybe need to give that extra 5% or 10%.
“It’s difficult to say how many world-class players we need. You look at the points difference and over the last few years we have made it smaller.
“Playing against the Arsenals and Chelsea, it has been close. We are giving them good games, which are tight and get decided on small details.”
The close-season in England has often been a difficult time for Gerrard while rumours fly that he is set to leave. Inter Milan are this year’s frontrunners to sign the Liverpool captain if reports are to be believed, but he insists he has no plans to quit.
“I’m happy here and enjoying my football. Obviously I am not happy ending the season without a trophy because I am a winner and that is what I play the game for,” he said.
“I like finishing the season having a trophy or cup final to look back on and seeing I’ve achieved something.
“The experiences I’ve had at this club in Istanbul [when they beat AC Milan to capture the Champions League], Cardiff and so on—I want these again because I’ve enjoyed them so much.”—Sapa-AFP
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