After Steven Gerrard capped his return to the Liverpool first-team fold with a goal in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United, Pepe Reina took time to praise the impact that the 'inspirational' skipper has had on the Reds' squad.

The Spanish stopper knows just how important the England midfielder is to Kenny Dalglish's side, and after making his long-awaited comeback after a period of seven months on the sidelines, Reina is confident Gerrard will go from strength to strength.

"Stevie is the badge of this football club, the soul of this team and we are more than happy to have him back," he said. "Hopefully he will be back for a long, long time.

"Just by the fact that he is on the pitch it is an inspiration for us, he always lead by example and anything he does he does with passion and a lot of commitment. He is a born winner."


Reflecting on the weekend draw with the reigning Barclays Premier League champions, Reina said it is understandable for the players to be disappointed having taken only a point from the Anfield encounter, and thinks that the renewed ambition can only bode well for the future.

"It is a positive thing to be disappointed not having beaten Manchester United," he continued. "It speaks well about the hunger of the team and the performance of the team that clearly we deserved three points.

"We have to keep going and keep winning games. We have been consistent I think we have had just one poor game so I think that is not a bad balance at all.

"It is not about belief. It is about the quality of the team and the squad and the strength we have as a group, as a group of players, as a football club. That is all that matters.

"We have to work on a daily basis to improve, keep going and compete more often with the people above us. It is still early days to speak about closing gaps or not, we will find out at the end of the season and hopefully the distance won't be that big."

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