Gerrard’s derby day hat-trick helps Liverpool rediscover winning habit

LIVERPOOL 3 vs EVERTON 0

LIVERPOOL captain Steven Gerrard insists last night’s morale-boosting victory in the Merseyside derby will count for nothing unless his side can discover a level of consistency that will turn them into Champions League contenders.

Gerrard became the first player to score a hat-trick in this fixture since Ian Rush scored four times at Goodison Park in 1982, as Liverpool ended a depressing sequence of three Premier League defeats in succession.

Despite last night’s welcome three points, Kenny Dalglish’s side remain 10 points adrift of fourth placed Arsenal and Gerrard challenged his team-mates to ensure Liverpool’s absence from Europe’s premier club competition does not stretch into a third season.

“It’s been frustrating, the inconsistency we’ve been showing in the league, very frustrating,” he said. “We played very well at Arsenal and got nothing, then we never turned up at Sunderland. We need to find a level of consistency where we go on a winning streak, rather than win one and lose one, because otherwise we find ourselves in a position in the league that we don’t want.”

After a typically frenetic opening, Gerrard eventually brought order to the contest in the 34th minute with a delicate chip from the edge of the penalty area which rendered four Everton defenders and goalkeeper Tim Howard helpless.

The England midfielder effectively sealed victory six minutes after the break after he rammed home a Luis Suarez cut back and the Uruguayan was the unselfish provider again in injury time, allowing Gerrard to cap his 400th Premier League appearance in the grand manner.