Why FA Cup exit can spur Liverpool to the Premier League title

Steven Gerrard has vowed that Liverpool's FA Cup exit to Arsenal will not derail their season.

Yesterday's 2-1 defeat to Arsenal condemned Brendan Rodgers' side to a second trophy-less campaign as goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski dumped them out of the competition.

Crashing out at the fifth-round was compounded by Liverpool's perceived injustice of referee Howard Webb refusing to award a second penalty after Oxlade-Chamberlain had fouled Luis Suarez.

But Gerrard insists they will bounce back when they host Swansea City in next Sunday's Premier League meeting at Anfield, with Liverpool still in the box seat to secure Champions League qualification.

"In my opinion it was a stonewall penalty. It's even more blatant than the penalty which was awarded," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"The referee was very close to the incident. It's one you expect to get. Howard Webb is a top referee and I'm sure he will have a look at himself. Obviously we’re going away really disappointed with the result but we can’t be disappointed with how we played."

He added: "The way we’re playing at the moment, we’re a match for anyone. Going forward we look so dangerous and we are creating more than enough chances to win games.

"People are talking about us being a top side and rightly so. We need to bounce back quickly – that’s what top sides do after a setback.

“I know going out of the cup won’t have a negative impact on the league. Our home form has been excellent and we need to continue that by taking maximum points against Swansea at Anfield next Sunday.”

The setback at the Emirates Stadium ended an unbeaten run of nine games in all competitions for Liverpool but they remain dark horses in this season's title race.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho tipped the Reds to edge the four-way battle due to their lack of continental distractions. Only Manchester City boast a goal difference superior to the 34 Rodgers' side have accrued and that confidence in attack combined with the dejection of yesterday's defeat could spur them to climb higher than fourth in the final months of this season.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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