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Gerrard: Important for Liverpool to Retain Place in Champions League

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Steven Gerrard is bound and determined to ensure that Liverpool's return to Champions League is not a blip on the radar but the beginning of a sustained multi-season run in the competition.

Michael Regan

It's international break, but just because you've retired from your national team, it doesn't mean the media won't ask you about international competition of another sort. Although a handful of Liverpool's current squad have played in Champions League with either Liverpool or their former clubs, Steven Gerrard remains the only player to have won the trophy with the club. Getting back into the competition.

"When you watch the Champions League and you're not involved there's jealousy and envy seeing other players play on the big stage and hearing that Champions League music,'' the Liverpool captain said. "You are competing against the best players in Europe and it is the number one competition in the world to play in. It is the trophy every player dreams of winning and because of the experience I have gained over the years I was so desperate to taste it again, even if it was just one more time.

"It is very important we maintain our place in the Champions League but after the journey we went on last year and the confidence we gained from it I think we are genuine title contenders as we have proved we can mix it with anyone in this league.''

Despite the influx of talent designed to pad out a squad participating in four competitions and despite finishing second last season, the popular narrative surrounding Liverpool this season still largely revolves around whether or not they'll be able to secure that fourth place spot. Gerrard is convinced it won't be an issue, and it's down to Brendan Rodgers' tactical prowess.

"He can play any formation he wants to play," Gerrard explained, "as he knows he has the personnel and he is not scared to change formation from game to game or tinker with it as the game is going on. He is a players' manager, a manager you want to work hard for and win for.

"He shows the players unbelievable respect, he treats them like his own children and creates an unbelievable atmosphere to work in. I have been blown away by how sharp he is in the dressing room, how quick he is to see a problem.''

Tactically flexible? Check. Good man management skills? Check. Silverware in 2014-15? Pending.