BR believes in Gerrard longevity
Sat, 09 Feb 2013 11:18:00
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes captain Steven Gerrard's quality and adaptability means he is good for a few more years yet.
With one half of the side's Scouse heartbeat - Jamie Carragher - bringing his 16-year first-team career to an end in May the focus naturally turns to the other.
However, Rodgers insists Gerrard, two years younger than the 35-year-old Carragher, has plenty still to offer and this season has demonstrated that.
The England captain did not begin the campaign, Rodgers' first at Anfield, particularly well but in the last couple of months has rediscovered the kind of performances which have made him such an inspirational figure in a red shirt.
However, Rodgers pointed to his display in the midweek friendly win over Brazil as an indication there is plenty more to come from the midfielder.
"I think it was difficult for him at the start of the season: a new manager coming in, he'd not long returned from the European Championships which was obviously a disappointment for him and he was straight into the big games," said the Reds boss.
"But you have to give great credit to him because of how he has focused on his game and the areas that we talked about continually improving.
"His standard has always been there but maybe he has not got recognition for that because the team was not quite at the level.
"But he has been instrumental now for a number of months.
"He is adapting and modifying his game but he still has the qualities he has always had.
"He was outstanding (for England) the other night playing in that slightly deeper, controlling role which I think he can play as the years go on.
"He is able to dictate the rhythm of the game and some of the invention and creativity in his passing was brilliant and defensively he was very good.
"This is a guy who has everything in the locker: a wonderful professional, a great man off the field - a real inspiration for any young player - who leads his life the right way.
"You see him on the field, his range of passing, his touch and his leadership qualities and his influence is getting stronger for me."
At the other end of the scale 22-year-old defender Martin Kelly, currently sidelined with a cruciate knee ligament injury, has just signed a new contract with the club.
"It means everything to me and my family. I've been at Liverpool since I was seven, so it's in my heart and I love the club," he told liverpoolfc.com.
"This shows the faith that the club have in me and that the hard work I have put in since I was young has paid off.
"Hopefully I'll put the injuries behind me. We have excellent medical staff here, who are going to work me and keep me on top of my injury. I'll be coming back even stronger."