The Reds took a fortuitous lead when Aly Cissokho’s wayward strike was deflected past Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland by centre-half Ryan Shawcross before Luis Suarez capitalised on a defensive mix-up to double Liverpool’s lead.
It’s all about top four – not goals or appearances
However, Stoke were level by half-time after ex-Reds Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam cancelled out Liverpool’s advantage at the Britannia Stadium.
Gerrard fired in a second-half penalty and Suarez netted his 22nd goal of the season to restore their side’s two-goal cushion, before Jonathan Walters and Daniel Sturridge both scored in a whirlwind final five minutes.
“It’s big because our record against Stoke is poor away from home and we wanted to put it right. We showed great team character,” Gerrard told Sky Sports.
“We made a couple of mistakes and it became a real tough game.”
Gerrard, who made his 650th Premier League appearance at the Britannia Stadium, added: “Of course I was disappointed to get hamstring injury and great to be back.
“It’s all about top four – not goals or appearances. There was more pressure on us to get the result.”
Suarez scooped the man-of-the-match award following his brace at Stoke, and the Uruguayan is thrilled to have his strike partner Sturridge back fit.
“He is important because he is a great player,” Suarez said.
“It was a long time without him and now he’s back so we’re happy.”
Asked whether he had a goal tally in mind for the Premier League season, Suarez added: “It’s more important that Liverpool finish in top four.”
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