Gerrard: Reds not good enough

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has called on the players to respond to the challenge which faces them next season - primarily improving their league form.

The Reds 2-1 FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea denied the Reds the chance of a domestic cup double and effectively ended their season with two games remaining. Their poor league form has resulted in just four wins in the 17 matches in 2012, with a return of 15 points from a possible 51 bringing the prospect of a finish outside the top 10.

"We need to dust ourselves down and we need to respond to the challenge next year," said Gerrard.

Two months ago had Liverpool beaten Arsenal at home and not lost in injury time they would have moved within four points of the Gunners with a match in hand.

Instead they are now 18 points behind Arsene Wenger's team and their prospects of making a bid for Champions League qualification next season seem further away than they were at the start of the current campaign.

Gerrard continued: "We need to come back. Football is about highs and lows, it's certainly been a low today.

"We've been fantastic in the cup competitions this year and the players deserve a lot of credit for that.

"We haven't been good enough in the league this year and we deserve criticism and we need to take criticism like men. We need to do better. We're Liverpool Football Club; we're not seventh or eighth in the league. We're better than that."

Despite a poor start to the Wembley final, going 2-0 down to goals by Ramires and Didier Drogba in just less than an hour, Liverpool dragged themselves back into the game in the final 30 minutes, mainly due to the arrival of substitute Andy Carroll who scored one and had a late header clawed away by goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Gerrard felt they deserved more than they got out of that last-ditch charge, but admitted they should have done more to make the match a contest earlier. "That's the frustration. Looking back, we never got going until 30 minutes into the game... That's why I believe we just did enough to get a draw out of the game. I wouldn't say we did enough to win the game."