Gerrard calls for derby reaction

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Football News

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is demanding a reaction from his teammates after defeat to Sunderland continued the club's New Year slump.

The Reds have picked up just five points out of the last 24 in the Premier League since the turn of the year, with Nicklas Bendtner's sole strike compounding their misery at the Stadium of Light.

With their top four challenge in tatters, and Newcastle United hopeful of pulling further clear in sixth against Arsenal on Monday, Liverpool are looking over their shoulder, with rivals Everton looking to leapfrog the Reds come derby day on Tuesday night.

But Gerrard said: "The players need to take responsibility for where we are in the league. It's just not good enough for a club like us to be there.

"We have to find a better level of consistency. We need a reaction and there's no better team to produce that against than Everton. It's important the players put in a performance and get a result for the fans.

"Everyone is a bit down after recent results but we want to put a smile back on their faces. It's a big week and we want to go into that Cup tie with Stoke on the back of a win."

Everton travel to Liverpool looking for their first win at Anfield since 1999, and on the 10th anniversary of David Moyes' appointment as manager, could go above their rivals from across Stanley Park if they condemn Kenny Dalglish's side to a fourth successive league defeat.

Many in the red half of Merseyside hoped the club's Carling Cup win over Cardiff City would galvanise them towards a top four challenge, but without a win since that Wembley victory, Gerrard says the FA Cup could be their best route to further success this season.

"The Carling Cup was a fantastic achievement but it's gone now, it's been put to bed. We have to forget about that," he added.

"We wanted to build on winning the Carling Cup by pushing for the top four, but it hasn't happened so far as we've lost two on the bounce. We need to sort our league form out sharpish and try to get back to Wembley in the FA Cup.

"That Stoke game [a quarter-final this weekend] has become even more important than it was a few weeks ago. The frustrating thing is we went from a fantastic performance, an eight or nine out of 10 against Arsenal, to a three or four out of 10 against Sunderland."

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