Gerrard key to Reds

Brendan Rodgers is determined to keep Steven Gerrard at Liverpool for the rest of his career.

Last Updated: 05/04/13 at 16:36 Post Comment

Steven Gerrard: Backed by Brendan Rodgers

Steven Gerrard: Backed by Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers is determined to keep Steven Gerrard at Liverpool for the rest of his career as he believes the mercurial midfielder can remain one of Europe's top players for another five years.

With a year left on his current deal beyond this season, speculation has already started as to the possibility of Reds skipper Gerrard signing up to a further extension.

Rodgers has refused to disclose whether talks have already started with Gerrard about a new contract, stating it is "private between Steven, I and the club". Rodgers has, however, made it clear he wants Gerrard - who turns 33 at the end of next month - to stay on at Anfield.

With Gerrard now approaching 15 years' service as a professional with Liverpool, Rodgers said: "He's 32 years and super fit at the moment. He's played every minute of every (Premier League) game.

"We've worked very hard on his individual plan to make him as fit as he possibly can be, and the rest has been down to him really.

"It's about his responsibility on the field, how he manages himself off it. He's been first class, and as a captain he's been brilliant this year.

"So he's 32, 33 in May, and I still see another three to five years left in him yet as long as everything holds up with his body, which this year has been nigh-on perfect.

"So that (a new contract) is something we will sort out in due course."

Rodgers has no doubts he can envisage Gerrard playing at the highest level through to the age of 37 or 38.

"Why not?" said Rodgers. "He's a brilliant professional.

"Look at the likes of (Javier) Zanetti at Inter Milan (currently 39) and (Andrea) Pirlo (currently 33) who are still talked about as top European players.

"Steven currently is that at the moment, and I can see him being that for the next number of years.

"As I've said, he's had a fantastic season this season up until now and he wants to finish it strongly.

"His priority is always Liverpool, which is real humbleness from the guy. He is more worried about the football club than himself.

"I, as a manager, want to make sure he stays here because he's very, very important for what I want to do."

Rodgers must first try and clinch a European place for next season, with no guarantees as Liverpool are currently seventh in the Barclays Premier League.

The Reds are three points behind sixth-placed Merseyside rivals Everton in a bid for a Europa League spot and seven adrift of Chelsea, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League position.

On a roll of four wins from their last five league games, Rodgers is simply looking to extend that run going into Sunday's home match with West Ham.

"I am not even thinking about how many points we might need to clinch a Champions League place," said Rodgers.

"We just need to win the next game. We've won five of our last six in all competitions. Hopefully we showed the Southampton performance (a 3-1 defeat) was a blip.

"We came back and showed great determination and will last week, as well as quality, to beat Aston Villa, and we want to continue with that.

"West Ham will be a difficult game for us. They're a tough team to play against as they've some very good players.

"We'll need to be at the top of our game, physically, mentally, tactically, to get something from it.

"But how the players have been in training, how they've been for the last few months, gives us great hope we can finish strong."

Rodgers' only doubt for the game is striker Raheem Sterling who is struggling with a thigh injury. end

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