Premier League

Rodgers: Gerrard is phenomenal

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Thu, 29 Nov 2012 20:58:00

Gianluigi Buffon is confident he will shortly finalise a new contract at Juventus and is not thinking about joining another club at the end of the season.

The veteran goalkeeper's present deal expires next summer, but Buffon has confirmed that an agreement regarding an extension has been reached in principle.

However, the Italy international is not ruling out a future move abroad after stating the only other Serie A club he would play for is Parma, who he left for Juventus in a record-breaking deal 11 years ago.

"A month ago, I met with the president Agnelli and we found a draft agreement for a new contract," Buffon told La Nazione.

"We'll formalise everything soon. There are no money problems. At my age they know my value and what I can still give.

"A future at another club? I don't think about it. Maybe at the end of my career I could evaluate an experience abroad.

"In Italy, the only club that I would consider is Parma, the team which launched me in the great game of football."

Buffon also touched upon the possibility that Juventus could sign Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli or former Chelsea forward Didier Drogba in January.

The 34-year-old added: "Balotelli or Drogba as a gift for the Champions League knockout stages? It must be chosen by Conte and the club."

The England midfielder has taken the brunt of the criticism for his side's indifferent performances this season, collecting just 16 points from 14 Premier League matches.

Gerrard has scored only once in the league this term, but Rodgers insists he is still a great leader out on the pitch.

"He has carried this club for nearly 13 years, and it's about time there was more than Steven picking up the baton of responsibility for Liverpool," Rodgers said.

"I don't want to focus too much on him, other than that he's been brilliant since I arrived here. His inspiration and leadership within the team has been phenomenal.

"He might not have got the goals he would have wanted this season, but you can see how effective he's been and the quality of his game.

"Against Spurs, his range of passing, his commitment and his drive into the box was superb."

Rodgers also confirmed that Lucas Leiva and Joe Cole could return to the squad for this weekend's clash with fellow strugglers Southampton at Anfield.

"Joe Cole will come back into contention. He had a scan on an injury but that showed up fine, so he should be available again at the weekend," he added.

"Lucas Leiva will return to the squad, which is great news because he's been working very, very hard and played the reserve game last week. He's been training for a few weeks and looked very good, so we'll look forward to bringing him back in."

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