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Gerrard promises to 'lift Liverpool'

sports Updated: Sep 24, 2010 14:02 IST

AFP
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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has promised to lead from the front as the fallen giants of English football bid to recover from the embarrassment of their League Cup defeat by fourth-tier Northampton.

Anfield boss Roy Hodgson admitted making a mistake in fielding a virtual second team in the midweek match Liverpool lost on penalties.

Liverpool have taken just five points from their opening five Premier League matches but are still just three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.

England midfielder Gerrard and several other first-team regulars are set to return for Saturday's home league match against Sunderland and the player said it was their duty to rally the club.

"Football isn't just about highs," said the 30-year-old. "Throughout my career I have experienced both highs and lows and probably learnt more from the lows because you look at yourself first, look at what went wrong and try to learn from your mistakes.

"The players are allowed to be down today but it's up to players like myself to pick them back up. We need to get everyone's head focused on Sunderland now.

"What I would ask all the supporters is to trust the players and what the players are saying. "I've been reading and listening to what they've been saying and they've all said we'll get it right in the end -- and we will."

Reigning champions and table-toppers Chelsea are set to face the sternest test of their title credentials when they travel to big-spenders Manchester City.

Chelsea were once renowned for 'flashing the cash' and aren't exactly poor financially, yet City's 120 million pounds' spending in the latest transfer window was stunning even by the standards of their London rivals.

Both sides suffered midweek League Cup defeats but for Chelsea, four points clear of Arsenal and Manchester United, the league season could hardly have gone better with five wins out of five and 21 goals.

Chelsea and City have several players out injured but the champions are set to have England central defender John Terry in their side after he marked his return from injury by playing in half of the Blues' 4-3 League Cup loss to Newcastle United.

"He played without and problems; it was in the plan to play him for just 45 minutes," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said.

Arsenal will be without Cesc Fabregas when they welcome West Brom to the Emirates although the influential Spain midfielder could be back from a hamstring injury for next week's clash against Chelsea.

"I hope that he will be ready for the Chelsea match and that he will be fine," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "But at the moment we don't know, it's too early."

Meanwhile bottom of the table West Ham take on Tottenham in a London derby and second-bottom Everton travel to Fulham.

Blackpool, the surprise package of the top-flight, are at home to north-west rivals Blackburn while Birmingham welcome Wigan to St Andrews.

Sunday sees Manchester United make the short journey to Bolton while Newcastle face Stoke and Wolves play Aston Villa.