Gerrard vows to be back to his best for World Cup
Steven Gerrard believes he is back to his best as he looks to put a season of under-achievement at Liverpool behind him by helping England to World Cup glory.
Gerrard has again been the subject of speculation linking him with a move away from Anfield this summer because of reportedly having lost faith in manager Rafael Benitez.
The Reds finished seventh in the Premier League, after going close to winning the title 12 months earlier, and made an early exit from the Champions League.
But Gerrard, 29, is now fully focused on trying to triumph in South Africa with Fabio Capello`s side and he challenged England to prove they are good enough to win football`s biggest prize.
The midfielder said: "It has been a difficult season - personally and for the Liverpool group as a whole - because we`ve under-achieved.
"We haven`t achieved the goals we set out to achieve at the start of the season.
"It has been really tough dealing with those setbacks.
"But now we are here for England, it is important club issues are put to one side.
"My main focus is on `can I go to the World Cup and do well for myself and England?`
"The good thing is my form has come back closer to where I want it to be.
"I have experienced up-and-down form during the season, suffered certain injuries, and struggled to get back the form I wanted straight away.
"At the moment I am feeling good. I finished the season quite strongly personally."
Gerrard claims England have the right blend of exciting young players and experience to pose a serious threat this summer.
But he also stressed the importance of Wayne Rooney staying fit if the goals are to be realised.
Gerrard said: "What we`ve got here now is a fantastic mixture of players with international experience and also fresh youngsters who are very talented.
"The mix is good. The challenge now is `can we get out on the pitch and prove to the rest of the world that we are good enough to be successful at one of these major tournaments?`
"The World Cup is very close now and it is very important we stay strong and together. Hopefully we get a bit of luck with injuries and keep everyone available.
"If we can do that, we feel we`ve got a fantastic chance of doing well in South Africa.
"I think it is important as a player you don`t get too carried away with saying you are going to achieve this and that and it would be naive and stupid of me to do so.
"We`ve got to take each game as it comes and the first challenge is to get out of the group as winners. We will take the last 16 on but I don`t really want to look too far ahead."
Gerrard believes a fully fit and firing Rooney - the PFA Player Of The Year award winner - could tip the balance in England`s favour.
He said: "Wayne`s form this season has been up there as one of the best players in the world.
"As a team-mate, you are hoping and keeping your fingers crossed that he stays fit and carries that form on into the World Cup.
"He is our key man, he is great to have around the place, off the field as well. "He is a big player for us, and hopefully he can stay away from injury."