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Paul Eaton 31 August 2009
Steven Gerrard believes he owed Liverpool a match-winning performance after helping the Reds take all three points at Bolton.
By his own admission, the skipper had been below par in the opening games of the new campaign - but he bounced back to top form in timely fashion at the Reebok with a stunning winning strike seven minutes from time.
"I've had a difficult start to the season," said Gerrard. "I held my hands up in the dressing room after the Aston Villa game and said I wasn't good enough.
"I'm man enough to do that and I needed to react myself to Monday's performance, and I feel I did that.
"It was big win. It's been well documented that it's been a tough week. No-one expected us to lose two of the opening three games.
"There was a lot of pressure on us to deliver three points. The performance had to play second fiddle, it was all about the result.
"The criticism has come because of the expectation. Because we finished second last year, everybody expects us to have a flying start and go straight to the top of the table.
"People were writing us off after three games of the season, which is absolute madness.
"All the players knew the performance was not good enough against Villa and we needed to react.
"We were putting pressure on ourselves. We have some big players in the dressing room who expect to win every game.
"I thought every one of the lads stood up and was counted and the win was well deserved."
With another three points on the board, Gerrard believes the Reds will now be ready to kick-on once the players return after the two week international break.
"I think maybe the players were getting a bit edgy during games because we didn't get off to a flying start," he said
"But we didn't have a perfect pre-season. People joined up late and we had bad luck with some injuries, I'm not looking for excuses here, but we did have disruptions.
"So we always knew that the start at times would be difficult, we were going to be edgy and nervous and we had a few young lads come in.
"We can take a lot of confidence from this result, things will settle down and we can go on a good run.
"Games that we drew last year, we'll have to make sure that we win to make up for the two games we have lost already.
"But the league this year is a lot different than last year. The likes of Chelsea and Man U were winning almost every game last year but I don't think that will be the case this time. With teams such as Man City and Tottenham stronger, there are seven or eight sides who can take points off everyone."
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