Brendan Rodgers backs Liverpool veterans Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher for key roles
New Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have a key role to play as he shapes a new era at Anfield.
The former Swansea boss believes the way the local-born pair, both graduates of the club's academy, have consistently performed to the highest level despite the expectations placed on them is a lesson to anyone looking to succeed in his new vision for the club.
While other big names have come and gone with varying degrees of success Rodgers highlighted the way the two thirtysomethings, the club's Scouse heartbeat, have endured throughout.
In tomorrow's print edition - Steven Beacom interviews Brendan Rodgers at Anfield
And on agreeing to become Kenny Dalglish's successor he made sure the pair were among the first people he contacted.
"I spoke to Steven Gerrard last night and had a good chat with him which was great," he said.
"I phoned Jamie but he was in Dubai but I've had a message back from him.
"I always have good relationships with players and I don't expect that to be any different.
"Steven was brilliant, fantastic. I don't know him that well but he is a top, world-class performer.
"I have huge respect for big players because the jersey at Liverpool is much heavier than many other jerseys.
"That is why good players come into here, put the jersey on and maybe don't quite perform and then they go out and play well.
"People like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have, for years, borne the weight of that jersey and performed and those guys will be important going forward for me."
Gerrard said he was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to link up with the new boss after the European Championships.
"I'm excited. I'm really looking forward to working with Brendan, really looking forward to meeting him in person, but I'm sure everyone understands my main focus is on England at the moment," said the Reds captain.
"What I can go on record and say is that Brendan was the first choice.
"I was in the loop all the way along with the owners and board and he was the first choice."