Premier League - Gerrard: Preparation starts now

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes a summer of squad strengthening will allow the club to build on a strong second half of the season.

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Premier League - Gerrard: Preparation starts now
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Steven Gerrard has featured in every minute of Liverpool's first 34 Premier League matches this season

The injured England skipper, who watched yesterday's 1-0 win over QPR from the stands, pointed to "Champions League form" since January as an indicator fortunes were on the up and worthy of renewed optimism.

After defeat at Manchester United on January 13 Brendan Rodgers' side took 30 points from 16 league matches, winning eight and losing just twice.

During that spell they scored 36 goals to improve their goal difference to +28 - 20 better than last season as they finished one place higher in seventh.

The gap to fourth place was closed to 12 points from 17 a year ago and Gerrard is confident greater strides can be made in 2013-14.

"Since January this team has shown a better level of consistency," said the 32-year-old, who missed the last two matches of the campaign after shoulder surgery.

"We've shown Champions League form and there is a lot of optimism and positives to take into next season. Our target at the beginning of the season was fourth (place) and we have not delivered that - as players we need to take responsibility for that.

"We finished seventh in the league so there certainly needs to be a bit done.

"The preparation starts now for next year. I am sure the manager and staff are already preparing.

"All the other teams will strengthen and we can't afford to be left behind. I am sure the manager is already thinking about where he needs to strengthen the squad to make up that gap so we compete with the top four."

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