Gerrard eager to avoid poor start

Steven Gerrard has insisted that Liverpool can mount a charge for the Premier League title next season - as long as they avoid another disappointing start to the campaign.

Under the guidance of Roy Hodgson in the first half of last season, Liverpool got off to their worst start since the 1953/54 season, only gathering six points from their opening six matches and subsequently dropping into the Premier League's bottom three.

Despite this early-season slump, club legend Kenny Dalglish managed to steady the ship by masterminding a run of form that saw them finish sixth in the division, having replaced Hodgson as manager in January.

With Liverpool’s performance since the turn of the year leading to Dalglish being awarded a three-year managerial contract, Gerrard believes that if the team can avoid another early-season blip and replicate their form of the first half of 2011, then the club can compete with the best.

"It's important to hit the ground running if you want to compete for the title. You can't afford any slip-ups early on," said the England midfielder.

"It's a tough first two games but I'm really looking forward to them and I think we can get two positive results.

"Hopefully we will have a few new signings in and we can start the season with three points which would give us the confidence to then go and get a good result at Arsenal."

By Matt Maltby