at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Steven Gerrard has made it clear where winning the Premier League would sit in the context of his 17 years as a professional footballer by declaring the next month “the biggest” of his career.
In a one-club career, Liverpool captain Gerrard has won 109 England caps, the Champions League, a Uefa Cup, two FA Cups and three League Cups but a league championship medal has remained elusive.
The 33-year-old midfielder was man of the match, however, as Liverpool put themselves in the driving seat for a first English title since 1990 with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Manchester City at an emotional Anfield on Sunday.
Gerrard said the performance was the “biggest statement” Liverpool had made during the campaign but admitted he had “feared for the worst” when City came back from 2-0 down to draw level at 2-2 before Philippe Coutinho's late winner.
“I think that's the best we've played all season,” he told the club's TV channel.
“For the first 30-35 minutes, I thought we blew the so-called best team in the league away. And it could have been three or four.
“(But) they are a top side, they have got world-class players, they have got 30-40 million pound players coming off the bench to add to what they have already got.
“After the effort we put in in the first half, they were always going to have a spell when we tired a bit. Thankfully, we stayed in the game and the little magician has popped up and scored probably the biggest goal of his life.”
The victory gave Liverpool a two-point lead over Chelsea and moved them seven clear of Manchester City, who have two games in hand. Victories in their last four matches would hand them a 19th English title.
Gerrard's emotion at the end of Sunday's match was clear and he hopes to carry that drive into Liverpool's final four fixtures - away at Norwich City, at home to Chelsea, at Crystal Palace and finishing off with Newcastle United at Anfield.
“The journey I've had all the way through the years, there have been ups and downs. At the moment, I'm loving every minute of it,” he said.
“I feel 21 again, playing with all these top players. It's probably going to be the biggest month of my career coming up now. I'll give it everything I've got.”
“The message is to stay calm and keep going - there are still four cup finals left.” – Reuters