IAN RUSH: Steven Gerrard's return to form so timely for Liverpool FC

By Ian Rush on Apr 27, 10 07:49 AM in Columnists

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IT WAS great to see Steven Gerrard back on the scoresheet and with a smile on his face in Liverpool's emphatic victory at Burnley.

The skipper's second goal was a bit special and he looked like the player we all know.

If Liverpool are going to end a difficult season on a high then we need Gerrard in that kind of form.


With Fernando Torres out injured, Gerrard is crucial to our hopes of getting past Atletico Madrid at Anfield on Thursday night.

The first leg was disappointing but I'm confident we can overturn that 1-0 deficit and book a trip to Hamburg on May 12.

Of course it's not the trophy we all hoped for at the start of the season but it would still be a big achievement.

Supporters love going to finals and it would be nice to win the first Europa League final since the competition was revamped.

Atletico are a decent side and have some dangerous attacking players but we've got to approach the game in the same way as the quarter-final against Benfica.


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We need to play with a high tempo, move the ball quickly and get at them from the start. Atletico can't be allowed time on the ball.

Foreign teams aren't used to the pace of English football and we need to treat Thursday night like a derby.

If we fly at them from the kick-off then I can't see them holding out. But if we're cagey and don't really go for it until late on we'll be in trouble.

The worry is that Atletico score an away goal as that will mean we need to get three. If they get one early I'd still be confident about us turning it around but if we're 2-0 up and trying to hold on in the last 10 minutes I'd be concerned.

Everyone knows how important the Anfield crowd are on European nights and I'm sure there will be a cracking atmosphere. The fans will be up for it and Liverpool need to start well to give them something to cheer about.

I really hope Dirk Kuyt recovers from a calf injury in time to feature. Kuyt is the kind of player you really need in a game like this as he'll run himself into the ground.

I said before we played Benfica that whoever won the tie would go on to lift the trophy and I still believe that.

Our home form has been good and hopefully we'll be looking forward to a Liverpool v Fulham final.

Going easy on Chelsea is not an option for Liverpool

LIVERPOOL don't want Manchester United to claim a record-breaking 19th league title, but that won't stop them giving it everything against Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday.

Make no mistake, the last fixture Chelsea would want this weekend is a trip to Liverpool. We've already beaten United at home this season and we're capable of defeating Chelsea as well.

With the race for fourth place still alive, the Reds still have a lot to play for and it's important to win our last home game.

It reminds me of the scenario when Liverpool played Blackburn on the last day of the 1994/95 season.

The fans wanted Kenny Dalglish's Blackburn to beat United to the title but it didn't stop Liverpool being professional. In the end it turned out perfectly with Liverpool winning the game but Blackburn still clinching the championship.

There could be a similar outcome this time as United have got a tricky game themselves away to Sunderland on Sunday. It wouldn't surprise me if both title contenders slipped up.

UEFA have got it wrong over Europa League final tickets

IF Liverpool get to the Europa League final they will only get 12,000 tickets and that's wrong.

The two finalists have to be given a bigger proportion of tickets but also UEFA should take into account clubs' home attendances.

Our crowds are a lot bigger than Fulham's and if we meet in the final the allocations should reflect that.

It's great to be back at Anfield

I'M really pleased to be back working at Liverpool as the club's soccer schools ambassador.

With two memorable playing spells and then a stint coaching the strikers under Gerard Houllier, the club has been a massive part of my life.

It's special to be asked back and it's an exciting job. I'm also very grateful that Liverpool are letting me continue in my role as Wales' elite performance director as that's been really rewarding.

I've been travelling the world for the past 10 years and I've seen for myself the passion there is for Liverpool across the globe. I've got my coaching badges and I know from spending time there how the Far East and the Middle East works.

Liverpool's commercial team have made great progress in recent years and there's massive potential to promote the brand further.

The Premier League is the most watched league in the world and despite our limited success compared to Manchester United over the past decade, we're still the best supported club.

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