Steven Gerrard doesn’t miss from the spot all too often and he was on target twice yesterday as a pair of penalties saw his Liverpool side edge out West Ham United 2-1 to climb back to the summit of the Premier League.
As the title race nears the finish line, the Reds are on a nine match unbeaten streak going into next weekends meeting with Manchester City. The Citizens dispatched Southampton on Saturday to keep pace with the Anfield outfit, but much like the Reds meeting with the Hammers, it was certainly the calm before what’s sure to be a stormy affair next Sunday.
“There are some very hard games to go – we’ve got a huge game next week,” Steven Gerrard told Sky Sports in the wake of yesterday’s victory in the capital. “The message is to stay calm.” The 33-year old was coolness personified as he slotted home the winning penalty after West Ham ‘keeper Adrian upended fullback Jon Flanagan as he burst into the box. A handball from James Tompkins saw the Reds take the lead late in the first half, but the hosts pulled one back before the break when Guy Demel poked home a controversial equalizer after Andy Carroll appeared to have fouled Simon Mignolet in the buildup.
In previous seasons that could have been enough to derail Liverpool’s hopes of taking full points, but the Reds pushed through and got their just rewards. “We took the lead and the idea from then was to build on that and not concede a goal. That was a huge setback for us, with the timing of it to go in level” said the Skipper. “We wanted to go in with our noses in front. But the character and determination of the team – we want this really badly – showed in the second half.”