Gerrard: Liverpool must take chances in 'massive' FA Cup tie against Stoke

The Reds captain helped his team past their recent profligacy in front of goal by bagging a hat-trick against their rivals and is now also refusing to give up on a top four finish

Steven Gerrard has described Liverpool's upcoming FA Cup quarter-final tie against Stoke City as like a "final" and hopes the Reds can become more clinical in front of goal following their 3-0 victory over rivals Everton.

The 31-year-old midfielder scored a hat-trick to help his side emerge victorious in Tuesday’s Merseyside derby but was not interested in reflecting on his own personal performance, preferring to look ahead to Liverpool's crucial upcoming matches.

With Champions League qualification for next season all but ruled out, the FA Cup is Liverpool’s sole aim for the remainder of the campaign.

"It feels good and it's nice to get a hat-trick but I'm not really interested in personal achievements," Gerrard told reporters following the Everton match.

"What's important to me is that we move up the league and we get to Wembley on Sunday in the FA Cup. It's a massive game and we need to treat it like the cup final, it's as simple as that.

"We need to put in a big performance because we want to take the supporters down to Wembley for a second time. It would be a fantastic achievement if we could get to Wembley twice."

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina, meanwhile, was also looking ahead to the FA Cup date and another opportunity to play at Wembley following Liverpool's League Cup victory over Cardiff City.

The Spaniard added that beating Everton so comprehensively would give Kenny Dalglish's team confidence going into another match at Anfield.

"Sunday's game is perhaps the most important game of the season for us," Reina admitted. "It will be a cup final for us.

"It is another opportunity for us to get back to Wembley [for the semi-finals], and that means a lot for us and for the club. To take one more step closer to a trophy is an opportunity for us. We have to play our best, and playing at Anfield is something we can take confidence from.

"This derby win came at a special moment for us. We have been through a weak spell in recent weeks, but that's what the Premier League is about.

"The teams around us have been having ups and downs. It's up to us to recover and get back on track. This team I can guarantee has plenty of character and we have another game on Sunday. The derby win has been a really big boost for us."

Focusing on the Premier League, despite trailing fourth-placed Arsenal by 10 points, Gerrard has refused to rule out the possibility over a top four Premier League finish.

"We just have to try to win as many games as we can and see where it takes us," Gerrard insisted. "We won't give up on the top four until it's impossible.

"You can talk about luck, things not going your way, but you have to take responsibility for putting the ball in the back of the net and against Everton it worked out for us.

"The performances have been really good. The big picture is that the squad is a lot stronger and we are moving forward.

"But unless we can get the ball in the back of the net and have an end product we are going to find [ourselves] sixth or seventh in the league and that's not what we want."

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