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Gerrard: Treat Carrow Road like Istanbul

ESPN staff
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Steven Gerrard has warned Liverpool they must treat their trip to Norwich like the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul, or risk seeing a remarkable season being consigned to history's dustbin.

Liverpool's 3-2 win over Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday leaves them two points clear of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League with four games to go, while Gerrard stated the win over their title rivals was the "biggest statement" the club had made so far.

Speaking yesterday on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, Gerrard admitted winning a first league title since 1990 would be the ultimate tribute to the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the disaster.

But despite Norwich being fourth from bottom and undergoing upheaval with Neil Adams in temporary charge following the sacking of Chris Hughton, Gerrard has reiterated the importance of the match, comparing it to that famous night in Turkey when Liverpool came back from 3-0 down to win their fifth European Cup on penalties.

"We have to focus and prepare for Norwich now - we have got to treat it like it is the last game of all our careers. That is the mentality," he said.

"We have got to forget where we are and forget what we have done. Man City was always going to be huge because they are in the race with us but Norwich now become Man City.

"Norwich become Chelsea. Norwich become Manchester United. That's how big it is. We have got to treat Norwich like we treated AC Milan in 2005. That's just how football is. We can't think about what colour shirts Norwich are wearing and the personnel in them. We have got to treat them like the best team in the world."

With Liverpool racking up their 10th league win in a row at Anfield on Sunday, Gerrard is hoping his message sinks in to his team-mates, warning them they haven't won anything yet - a statement which has been reiterated by both Manchester City's Martin Demichelis and Chelsea's Petr Cech.

"It is a remarkable run, but you get nothing for it," he added. "You get a pat on the back. What is key as a footballer is getting something to show for all the hard work. We have been on a magnificent run. We could win 13 on the spin but lose the last one and we won't get nothing.

"Nobody will remember it. The only way people will remember it is if we go on and win it."

Gerrard gave an emotional speech in a team huddle following Liverpool's win on Sunday, which he insists was the biggest league victory of his career "by far".

However the Liverpool captain has explained the tears in his eyes at the final whistle were for those who lost their lives at Hillsborough, rather than his joy at beating City.

"The reason I was so emotional was because of when the game fell. It wasn't just because it was a big match in our season," said Gerrard.

"It was because this week is always about more than football for everyone associated with Liverpool.

"It's emotional for so many people. I'm speaking on behalf of everyone when I say the win was dedicated to the victims and families of Hillsborough. All the squad will be present at the service to pay our respects as we should."

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