As disappointed as he is at Liverpool exit from the FA Cup, Steven Gerrard is confident he and his team-mates will instantly bounce back.
The Reds can consider themselves unlucky not to be looking forward to a quarter-final date with neighbours Everton next month, after they were edged out 2-1 by Arsenal in a controversial fifth round clash on Sunday. Having pulled one back after conceding twice, Luis Suarez was clearly fouled in the box but Howard Webb waved away his protests.
This leaves just the Premier League title left for the Anfield club to focus on this season, something which has already exceeded expectation. Whilst many pundits didn’t even think they could challenge for a top-four finish, Brendan Rodgers’ side have been in superb form and are currently just four points behind leaders Chelsea with 12 matches left.
Swansea City are the visitors to Merseyside on Sunday afternoon, when the home team will be expected to bounce back from their FA Cup disappointment to collect another three points. And Gerrard is confident he and his team-mates will be more than up for the challenge, as he looks to secure a first league title for the club since 1990.
“The way we’re playing at the moment, we’re a match for anyone,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “People are talking about us being a top side and rightly so. We need to bounce back quickly – that’s what top sides do after a setback. They don’t feel sorry for themselves, they look to the future and focus on getting back to winning ways. I know going out of the cup won’t have a negative impact on the Premier League.”
Liverpool have certainly benefited from an absence of European football this season, which is something the three sides above them in the table cannot say. Whereas Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal are all preparing for tough UEFA Champions League programmes, the Reds can fully concentrate their focus on the Premier League.
And with both City and Chelsea yet to visit Anfield, there is every chance Rodgers’ side can take points off their rivals before the end of the season. If they manage to overhaul all three sides ahead of them to finish top of the pile, it would undoubtedly be one of the biggest surprises since the inception of the Premier League in 1992-93.