Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says captain Steven Gerrard could continue in a deeper midfielder position as the 33-year-old enters the twilight of his career.
Gerrard made his 650th appearance for the Merseyside club in Sunday’s entertaining 5-3 Premier League win over Stoke City, scoring a 51st minute penalty as the Reds returned to fourth spot with 42 points, five behind new leaders Manchester City.
Making his first league start since recovering from a hamstring injury, Gerrard played in a deeper midfield role, one he has taken up on the international stage with England but less frequently at club level, and Rodgers said he had the ability to make a success of the move.
“I just feel he’s someone who fits the profile of that role, he does it a bit more with England and I think that in the period we had real success with playing with a controlling player and two guys pressing and playing in the corridor central,” he said after the match.
“I just feel that position is perfect for him. He’s got the personality to play it. When you play in that controlling role, you need someone who can get on the ball.
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“He gives us great variety with his passing, you saw a couple of times from deep where some might make a short pass but he opened the game up for us and stretched the game with his vision and quality.”
Despite the victory Liverpool struggled defensively at times, with all three goals arguably preventable.
They boast an embarrassment of riches in attack, however, with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge resuming their profitable partnership after the latter returned from injury and Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson improving as the season progresses.
That may mean Gerrard may need to get used to his new position as he lets the club’s younger players roam forward in search of goals.
“We’ve been working on it during the week and the manager has told me that moving forward I’ll play this role a lot more,” Gerrard told the club’s official website (www.liverpoolfc.com).
“It’s going to take a little bit of time to get used to, but I’ve played it many times for England and a few times for Liverpool in the early days, so I’ll be comfortable in there once I get a few games in.”