Steven Gerrard hailed a “big” win for Liverpool as the Reds defeated Stoke 5-3 at the Britannia Stadium to climb into the top four in the Barclays Premier League.
Gerrard stroked home a second-half penalty while Luis Suarez added a double to take his league tally to 22 from just 16 appearances.
Daniel Sturridge, back from injury, was also on target as Liverpool adding to a Ryan Shawcross own goal as they recorded their first league victory at Stoke in over 29 years, and Gerrard was in no doubt of the importance of the result.
“It’s big,” he said. “Our record at Stoke in the league is poor and we wanted to put that right.”
“It’s results like this we need if we want to finish in the top four.”
Liverpool led 2-0 before Liverpool old boys Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam had Stoke level at the break, but the Reds went back in front through Gerrard’s penalty before pulling away for the win.
Gerrard operated from a deep-lying role alongside Lucas and the England man said: “It’s something we’ve been working on in the week and the manager’s told me that, in the future, I’ll play this role more,” he said.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time to get used to, but I’ve played it many times for England and a few times for Liverpool in the early days, so I’ll be comfortable in there.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City went back to the top of the Premier League after a hard-fought win at Newcastle United with goals from Edie Dzeko and, in stoppage time, Alvaro Negredo.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has apologised for swearing at City boss Manuel Pellegrini with the home club angry over a disallowed goal by Cheick Tiote for offside against Yoan Gouffran.
City lost Samir Nasri with a bad knee injury.