Steven Gerrard hails Liverpool’s character
Reds captain scored twice from the spot in contentious win over West Ham at Upton Park
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers (right) celebrates with team-mates Raheem Sterling (left) and Steven Gerrard after the win over West Ham. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Steven Gerrard hailed Liverpool’s character after they bounced back from a hugely controversial West Ham equaliser to earn a 2-1 win at Upton Park and keep their charge for the Barclays Premier League title on track.
Gerrard scored twice from the spot, either side of a hugely controversial leveller on the stroke of half-time from Guy Demel, as Liverpool returned to the top of the table. Referee Anthony Taylor appeared to overrule his assistant in awarding Demel’s goal, even though Andy Carroll clearly knocked Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet on the head, causing him to drop a cross and allowing Demel to score.
Then he awarded a very soft penalty for Liverpool, from which Gerrard scored the winner.
“There is great resolve, character and togetherness from the squad,” Gerrard said on Sky Sports 1. “We did (feel a sense of injustice), but the manager said to us at half-time we can’t change anything. That one went against us, but we couldn’t feel sorry for ourselves. We had to roll our sleeves up and give an extra 10 per cent.
“You can see clearly it’s a foul, the linesmen flagged for it and the referee has overruled him.”
“I am not convinced (Liverpool will win the league) just yet,” he added. “We have very hard games to go, we’ve got a huge game next week. We’ve got to give everything we can.”
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers claimed his side were deserved winners, saying: “We were clearly the better team. West Ham had one short on target which was the goal. It was a brilliant win today and keeps our run going.”
Rodgers spoke to Taylor at half-time about the Demel goal.
He said: “I just had a quiet word and he thought the keeper had dropped it.”
Gerrard’s second penalty followed another controversial decision, with Hammers keeper Adrian getting a clear touch to the ball as he came out to challenge Jon Flanagan. His first spot-kick was for an obvious handball by James Tomkins.
But Rodgers said: “The first penalty was clear and I thought the second one was a penalty as well. Jon gets a touch on the ball and touches it past the goalkeeper. The keeper gets a touch on the ball, but also takes him.”
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce admitted Carroll did foul Mignolet in his side’s equaliser, but said the second Liverpool decision was also the wrong call. He said the referee was in a poor position and “guessed”.
“Flanagan is going down before Adrian plays the ball,” he said. “He thinks Adrian hasn’t played the ball and he has. In that position where he is he has got to be 100 per cent certain. I feel let down, the lads feel really let down. We took Liverpool right to the wire.”