Gerrard takes blame for Wigan draw
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has insisted he was responsible for the goal that allowed Wigan Athletic to equalise in their 1-1 Premier League draw at the DW Stadium last night.
The England midfielder, who throughout his Anfield career has repeatedly rescued the team from the brink of defeat, gave the ball away prior to Colombian international Hugo Rodallega's equaliser early in the second half. Rodallega's goal cancelled out Fernando Torres's seventh-minute opener for the visitors.
Gerrard might still have won the match for the Reds late on but his shot came back off the crossbar with Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi beaten. "I tried to play a one-two that, if it had come off, could have been a good move," Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo about the build-up to Rodallega's leveller.
"You don't expect it to lead to a goal but, when it does, you have to take responsibility," he added. "Then, when I went through on goal, I maybe struck my shot too well but I should have scored - I expected to. As we haven't taken maximum points, maybe people should point a finger at me."
Gerrard said the strain of beating league leaders Chelsea in their previous fixture could have caught up with Liverpool against Wigan. "Maybe our performance suffered after the energy and intensity we put into beating Chelsea," he said. "You can often find that happening after you play a game 72 hours after a big fixture."
But, with Liverpool now four games unbeaten after a dreadful start and in ninth place, Gerrard was in confident mood ahead of Saturday's match against Stoke City. "After a fantastic win over Chelsea and having gone 1-0 up, of course we understand why people will be slightly disappointed.
"But we have kept our unbeaten run going, Fernando has got another goal and there are other positives. I'm happy with my form. It's going to be tough at Stoke but we will have to stand up and fight, stick together and if we get a win, that would be a superb result. We will be ready for it."
Meanwhile Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson accepts he will have to rely heavily on Torres and Gerrard to bring success back to the club. The pair would be the key players in any team but with a lack of depth being compounded by a number of injuries, their roles have become even more important.
That is highlighted by the fact that, apart from David Ngog's strike against Arsenal on the opening weekend of the season, all Liverpool's league goals have either been created or scored by those two.
With three goals in his last two matches, the 26-year-old Spaniard appears to be approaching his best form again and with his link-up play with Gerrard, which in the past has provided him with plenty of ammunition, evident once again, Hodgson expects Liverpool to flourish.
"It was an excellent goal and the move and the counter-attack and the combination play once again between Torres and Gerrard which got the latter in for his shot off the underside of the crossbar was another good example," said the Reds manager. "But that is what you expect from players of their ability. Everyone knows they are international stars of the Premier League.
"If we are going to do well this season we need those two firing on all cylinders, we need Torres' goals and Gerrard's manipulation and control of the midfield. We only saw it in glimpses against Wigan whereas against Chelsea and in our previous victories against Napoli, Blackburn and Bolton it was present in much larger doses.
"But it was tough going to Wigan. We are on a good run but after four straight victories you know it is going to be hard to get the fifth. I suppose I have to be satisfied in some ways we are still unbeaten and we are one more point towards the total we want to achieve."