Gerrard out to avoid poor start

17 June 2011 02:14
iverpool captain Steven Gerrard claims the club can be Premier League title contenders next season - if they avoid another early-season blip.[LNB] The new fixture list has given the Reds an opening home match against Sunderland - meaning summer signing Jordan Henderson could make his debut against his former club.[LNB]They then travel to Arsenal before home matches against Bolton and Wolves and trips to Stoke and Tottenham before the end of September.[LNB]Last season, with new boss Roy Hodgson in charge, the team claimed just six points from their opening half dozen fixtures before things took a turn for the worse as they dropped into the bottom three.[LNB]It was Liverpool's worst start since the 1953-54 campaign, when they were relegated, and that is a situation Gerrard is keen to avoid repeating.[LNB]"It's important to hit the ground running if you want to compete for the title. You can't afford any slip-ups early on," said the England midfielder, who expects to be fully fit for pre-season training after a groin operation in March.[LNB]"It's a tough first two games but I'm really looking forward to them and I think we can get two positive results.[LNB]"Hopefully we will have a few new signings in and we can start the season with three points which would give us the confidence to then go and get a good result at Arsenal."[LNB]Henderson's arrival will be followed by a number of other new faces, with long-time target Sylvain Marveaux likely to be the next after the winger's contract expired with French club Rennes.[LNB]Negotiations are continuing over Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam while reinforcements are also required in defence, particularly on the left where Newcastle's Jose Enrique has emerged as the prime candidate.[LNB]Since taking over in October owners Fenway Sports Group have stressed the need to extract more value for money from the transfer market, with the focus particularly on younger players.[LNB]It is a policy which served them well in their ownership of baseball franchise Boston Red Sox and one they hope to extend to Anfield.[LNB]However, the £20million deal to buy England Under-21 international Henderson indicates the Americans' willingness to spend significant money when they feel it is worth it.[LNB]"You're seeing the desire to win and the desire to compete in the transfer market," said Billy Hogan, managing director of Fenway Sports Marketing, the group's commercial arm.[LNB]"We would expect to have a couple more additions as the summer progresses.[LNB]"Damien Comolli (director of football) and Kenny (Dalglish) have certainly been clear about the desire to add talent where they can."[LNB]Hogan told Bloomberg: "When the ownership group acquired the Red Sox 10 years ago, one of the focuses was to develop the youth and in particular our farm system.[LNB]"That ultimately is where the Red Sox have been able to compete by bringing in what we call homegrown talent: young and talented baseball players that were grown within our minor league system.[LNB]"That's certainly something that holds true across the organisations. We're always looking for young talent."[LNB]In terms of what is expected from Liverpool next season, Hogan added: "We don't like to over promise and under deliver. Our goal is to always win."

Source: Team_Talk