Liverpool ready for dash

Liverpool prepared themselves in the best way possible for a hugely significant week when they beat West Ham United 2-1 on Sunday and returned to the top of the Premier League table.
 
The Merseyside-based club needed to not lose the clash to climb to the top of the table after Chelsea had beaten Stoke on Saturday and captain Steven Gerrard led the way with a brace of goals from the penalty spot. 
 
Skipper Gerrard said afterwards: "It was a tough game, a tough 90 minutes but there was great resolve and character from the squad. 

Every side is asking us different questions at the moment, and they were very direct.
 
"We want this (title) really bad and we showed that in the second half.
 
"I'm not convinced that we will win the league yet. We have five games left and they are all huge. If we beat Man City next week then all that will give us is three more points."
 
With just five matches remaining, Liverpool are edging ever closer to their first title since 1990 when player-manager Kenny Dalglish guided them to their 18th championship.
 
He was at Upton Park to see Liverpool's ninth successive league victory and watch on as Gerrard's two goals took the midfielder's tally to 173 for the club, lifting him to sixth in their all-time scoring chart – one ahead of Dalglish himself.
 
Dalglish's presence was both a link to the days when Liverpool were still dominating the English game and a poignant reminder of an emotional couple of weeks ahead for fans.
 
Big landmark
 
Next week marks the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semifinal against Nottingham Forest, the worst sporting disaster in British history.
 
Dalglish became a symbol of strength for Liverpool during those dark days, attending the funeral of every single victim.
 
The tragedy is never far from the thoughts of anyone associated with Liverpool and is back in the spotlight again now with the opening of a new inquest into the deaths of the 96.
 
Next Sunday's match against Manchester City, which kicks off at 1.37pm local time, will be played out against a background of highly-charged emotions.
 
Every league match in England, and the two FA Cup semifinals at Wembley, will kick-off at seven minutes past the hour or half-hour next weekend, symbolising the six minutes of play at the fateful Cup semifinal on April 15, 1989, and allowing a minute's silence to take place.
 

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