Reds boss defends Gerrard

Reds boss defends Gerrard

Published Sep. 15, 2012 9:15 a.m. ET

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists he does not want Steven Gerrard to change his game.

The Reds captain has come in for criticism for giving away possession on a couple of occasions which have led to goals.

Some have suggested the England midfielder's liking for ambitious passing is the cause, but Rodgers does not believe that is at odds with his possession football philosophy and will not ask Gerrard to alter his approach.

"Steven Gerrard doesn't need to change," said the Northern Irishman.


"He is a world-class player and absolutely no question he has been a wonderful guy since I came here.

"He has accepted a lot of responsibility with so many young players but he doesn't need to change.

"I have seen Steven from the outside looking in and there is no question about the number of times he has picked up this team and carried it on his back, that has been phenomenal.

"But I don't think that responsibility is always right. We shouldn't be looking to him and Luis Suarez to score the goals.

"When you are multi-talented and a great player like Steven you accept that responsibility because of your qualities but it is a responsibility of the team.

"One man can win you games but if you are going to win titles then you need a team.

"We are all very much a team and Steven is a big part of that team."

Liverpool, in 18th place with just one point, have had their worst start to a season for 50 years but Rodgers is not concerned about those statistics.

He believes he is progressing with his plan to alter the style of football at Anfield and has been encouraged by performances, if not results, so far.

"It (the style) is not so much about patience, it is about having the ball as much as you can and having penetration," he said.

"I don't like my teams to sit back and suffer, I like them to have control.

"There is nothing wrong with the penetration and our possession will get better with time.

"If you look at the statistics we are up there as one of the top three teams on attempts at goal, but what the statistics will tell you is our conversion rate is not so good."

Rodgers expects his forwards to have a hard time against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday evening.

"They like to defend and keep their lines close together," he said.

"They have (Steven) Fletcher up front who likes to score goals, and there is no doubt they have some very good players.

"When you go to the Stadium of Light, it is a very difficult game.

"The atmosphere is very good and when a big team comes to town you find opponents add that bit extra to their game.

"But our focus is on ourselves and looking to get our first three points on the board."