Norwich are AC Milan... that's how we must treat them if we want to win title
Steven Gerrard has warned his Liverpool team-mates their 10-game winning spree will mean nothing if they do not deliver the title.
Liverpool became favourites to win the Barclays Premier League after their 3-2 win over Manchester City on Sunday but Gerrard fears that ‘nobody will remember us’ if the Reds falter in the run-in.
Gerrard was overcome after the City game. It had been a hugely emotional occasion, as Anfield had paid its respects to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster to mark its 25th anniversary.
The 33-year-old club captain dedicated the triumph over City to the 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough and he is also on a mission to deliver the club’s first Premier League title in this symbolic year.
It is why Gerrard has demanded that Liverpool accord Norwich the same respect due to AC Milan and insisted Sunday’s trip to Carrow Road will be the biggest game his team-mates have ever played in.
‘Every game is getting bigger,’ Gerrard said. ‘Manchester City was always going to be huge because they are in the race with us but Norwich now become Manchester City.
‘Norwich become Chelsea. Norwich become Manchester United. That’s how big it is. We have to treat Norwich City like we treated AC Milan in 2005 (in the Champions League final).
‘We can’t think about what colour shirts Norwich are wearing and the personnel in them.
‘We have to treat them like the best team in the world. Ten wins in the Premier League is remarkable but you get nothing for it.
‘You get a pat on the back. We’ve all had them (pats on the back) but they come and go.
‘What is key as a footballer is getting something to show for all the hard work. We have been on a magnificent run.
‘We could win 13 on the spin but lose the last one and we get nothing.
‘Nobody will remember it. The only way people will remember it is if we go on and win it.
‘We have got to forget where we are and forget what we have done. We have just got to focus and prepare for Norwich.
‘We have to treat it like it is the last game of all our careers. That is the mentality.’
Managing the heightened expectations and frayed nerves of Liverpool’s fans may be one of the biggest issues for manager Brendan Rodgers’s Liverpool squad in the final four games and Gerrard admitted the pressure is emotionally draining if it is not handled properly.
He was in tears as the final whistle sounded at Anfield on Sunday and Gerrard explained: ‘It was just a release. It is a tough week, preparing for these matches.
‘There are long days going into them. Everyone knows personally how much I want it.
‘The reason I was so emotional was because of when the game fell. It wasn’t just because it was a big match in our season - it was because this week is meaning more than football for everyone associated with Liverpool.
‘I’ve just got to stay calm, relax and take each game as it comes. I’m trying to do that but it’s difficult to control my emotion.
‘In my spare time, I’m not sitting around thinking about it.
‘I’m watching the TV, spending time with my kids and my friends to take my mind off it.
Brace yourself: If Liverpool win their remaining games against Norwich, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United, they will secure the Premier League +7
Remembered: Gerrard revealed that his tears at full-time against Man City were because of the tough week
‘I’d love to play the remaining four games in the next four days but it is not possible.
‘I have to manage the time well and make sure that I’m not wasting unnecessary energy.’
Gerrard lost his cousin, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, at Hillsborough. He was just 10 years old, the youngest of the tragedy’s 96 victims.
‘I’m speaking on behalf of everyone when I say the win was dedicated to the victims and families of Hillsborough,’ Gerrard said.
‘All the squad will be present at the Memorial Service to pay our respects, as we should.’
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