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Gerrard warns United the pressure is on

sports Updated: Mar 23, 2009 07:21 IST
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Steven Gerrard has warned Manchester United that Liverpool will take full advantage of any more slips from Sir Alex Ferguson's Premier League leaders.

Liverpool moved to within one point of United, who still have a game in hand, with a thumping 5-0 victory over Aston Villa at Anfield on Sunday.

Following Rafael Benitez's side's 4-1 win at Old Trafford last weekend, United lost 2-0 at Fulham on Saturday and Liverpool's fine recent form has seen them move to within touching distance of Ferguson's team.

Liverpool now have just eight matches left but Gerrard has promised United that the Reds are just waiting for a chance to seize control of the title race.

He said: "It's important that we don't get carried away because Manchester United are capable of winning all their remaining games.

"We've got to focus on what we're doing, keep winning and keep on their shoulders and keep piling that pressure on them so that they're going into games knowing that we're ready to pounce on any mistakes that they make.

"When you win, it's good to win convincingly and everyone knows we're on a rich vein of form and confidence is high here but we're just taking each game as it comes."

Benitez has told his players that they have to treat every remaining league game like a cup final if they are to catch United.

But the Spaniard insists that the key to coming out on top is not wondering about United's results.

He said: "We need to do our job and wait for United to make mistakes. Now we are much closer but they are still in much better position but we have to keep going and pushing them.

"We are closer. They will see that we are working hard to win every game so my message is that every game is really important and like a cup final for us."

Having struggled for goals at times this season, the Reds have now scored 13 goals in three matches against Real Madrid, United and Villa.

And Benitez believes that confidence is flowing through his side as the season reaches a climax.

He added: "Against Real Madrid we scored first and we did that again against Aston Villa. This is perhaps the key because the other team have to come and play more open.

"When you are playing well, the players are playing with more confidence. Without changing players, with one game a week, (Fernando) Torres is fit, (Steven) Gerrard is fit, (Fabio) Aurelio is fit and it is easier for them to play one game a week.

"We can keep this momentum, but we have this international break. After that, we hope we can play with same mentality and keep doing well."

Aston Villa have now failed to win in eight matches in all competitions and after a fine start to the season, their dream of Champions League football is slipping away.

They remain three points adrift of fourth placed Arsenal and their manager Martin O'Neill admits that it will be difficult for them to return to the top four.

He said: "Winning football games in this Premier League is exceptionally hard and we were doing it fine until up until four or five weeks ago and our form has certainly dipped.

"We're not out of it yet but anyone would say at this minute that the top four are the strongest sides and we were well beaten but we're better than we showed against Liverpool.

"We're definitely not as strong as the other four teams with strength in depth. They've been over the course, they know what it's like and this is the crucial time of the season and those top four sides find themselves there again.

"It's no fluke that they're doing it but they're there again and credit to them."

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