"I've heard it said before that you can't win the league in the first 10 games, but you can lose it," said Gerrard. "That's definitely been true in our case. In the last two years we've lost any chance of challenging in the first 10 games.
"You can't give teams like United and Chelsea the kind of head starts we have. This year it's essential we get off to a flyer, or at the very least stay with them far longer than we've done in the past.
"We've shown we tend to get stronger as the season progresses, but it's no use trying to come from a long way behind."
One factor the skipper hopes to exploit is a full summer's break.
"I think we could be getting to a point where our squad is comparable in all departments now. I see four or five players competing for two positions in key areas of the team, and that shows how strong we are.
"I'm not going to start making any unnecessary predictions about what's going to happen this season, and the last thing any of us need to do is build hopes up too much, but without doubt if we all perform to our level week in, week out, we've the players to push United and Chelsea all the way."