An emotional Steven Gerrard urged Liverpool to maintain their focus after they secured a pivotal 3-2 victory over English Premier League title rivals Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday. "Nothing is ours yet," he told Sky Sports, after addressing a tearful on-pitch battle cry to his team-mates at the final whistle. The important thing now is not to get carried away with that result."
Liverpool's win, secured by a 78th-minute Philippe Coutinho strike, left them seven points above City at the top of the table and means that they will be guaranteed to claim the title if they win their last four games. Gerrard, 33, has never won the Premier League and he had tears in his eyes as he called his colleagues into a post-match huddle while the home fans' celebrations raged around them.
Roared on by a fervent home support, Liverpool went 2-0 up through Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel, but City hit back in the second half via David Silva and a Glen Johnson own goal, only for Coutinho to claim the winner. Asked to describe the occasion, Gerrard replied: "Emotional."
He added: "That win means so much. They got back into the game, but I think we showed today that we want to go to the wire. We want to go all the way. That's the longest 90 minutes I've probably ever played in. It felt like the clock was going backwards in some parts of that game."
Liverpool visit Norwich City next weekend, before another seismic home game against second-place Chelsea on 27 April. They then travel to Crystal Palace, before closing the campaign at home to Newcastle United, but Gerrard says that they cannot afford to look beyond the forthcoming game at Carrow Road.
"That is such a big result for us," he said. "We've got four cup finals left. People said that was the biggest one (match), but I disagree - I think the biggest one now is Norwich.
"We need to stay calm and prepare for Norwich. The scenes are great today and the fans are very happy, but we have a day off tomorrow and then we go for Norwich."
Liverpool will be without midfielder Jordan Henderson for the trip to Norwich after he was shown a straight red card for an injury-time lunge on Samir Nasri. Striker Daniel Sturridge, meanwhile, is doubtful after hobbling off in the second half, with manager Brendan Rodgers explaining that "he felt a wee bit of tightness in his hamstring".
For their part, City saw midfielder Yaya Toure limp off in the first half after he appeared to injure himself while dispatching a shot that flew over the crossbar. Visiting manager Manuel Pellegrini said that the Ivorian was likely to miss his side's home fixture with Sunderland on Wednesday, which is the first of the two games in hand on Liverpool that City have.
Pellegrini was left to rue a number of opportunities that his side spurned before Coutinho seized on a sliced clearance by City captain Vincent Kompany to crash home the winner with 12 minutes remaining. "They started very well and scored two goals," Pellegrini said. After that we rearranged things, had two or three clear chances at the end of the first half, and then we scored two goals. But we made that mistake and they win the game."