Belfast Telegraph

Brendan Rodgers has kind words for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard...but precious little else

By Ian Herbert

Liverpool acknowledge they may not be able to keep Steven Gerrard beyond the end of this season, with manager Brendan Rodgers now admitting that the player could look elsewhere as the club prepare to ration his appearances.

Rodgers insisted yesterday that Gerrard remains too integral to the Liverpool side to adopt an ancillary role similar to the one in which 36-year-old Frank Lampard has delivered as an impact player for Manchester City this season.

He said that the captain still had two years left at the Liverpool helm, if he wanted it.

But two weeks on from a meeting between Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre and Gerrard's agent Struan Marshall, at which the terms of a renewed one-year rolling deal were put on the table, the club is yet to hear that Gerrard is ready to prolong his Anfield career.

Rodgers did not display the same optimism about Gerrard extending his deal that he has previously and said that lifestyle issues were a part of his captain's consideration.

"There are other factors involved that are as much about life as they are about football," he said.

"One thing I know absolutely is that it is not about money. It is not about finances."

When it was put to Rodgers that other top clubs may come in for Gerrard, he said: "I can only think about the situation here and I hope there is a solution with the club and the representatives.

"It is not about the money, it is about the time of his career in terms of playing. He is a big, big talent."

Gerrard was unhappy that the club did not make an offer to him before last month - only two months before he enters the last six months and becomes free to talk to other clubs - though his private considerations may now include what the next two years at Anfield will actually look like.

The club are in yet another period of transition, assuming a more defensive approach to halt the slump which saw oneof just win in eight matches before Saturday's late victory over Stoke City, and Gerrard has taken substantial criticism for the struggle.

The prospect of a swansong in the United States or Italy - both of which present opportunities - may be a far more attractive proposition for Gerrard.

He would be a huge draw to Major League Soccer, where the anticipated imminent arrival of Lampard and David Villa while still only just past their peak is seen as a boost to the burgeoning league's credibility. Thierry Henry's announcement yesterday that he would not renew his contract with the New York Bulls in 2015 creates what could be an attractive lifestyle option for Gerrard and his young family.

In Italy, Roma could be interested if, as expected, they sell Kevin Strootman to Manchester United.

Both Milan clubs may create are potential buyers and Milan tried to sign Gerrard when Carlo Ancelotti was manager, in the last decade, though the feeling in Italy is that having Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Michael Essien in the same team would be too much of a former Premier League contingent.

In Spain, it is understood that Real Madrid and Barcelona would not be options.

British clubs would also be attracted by the idea of Gerrard in their ranks, with Manchester City one possibility if - as seems likely - Lampard is needed for the role he was hired for in New York.

Rodgers rejected the idea that Gerrard might now be eased into a coaching role at Anfield.

"At this moment he is still very much a player," he said. "When I see how he trains and works it is still about playing. Then, maybe there is a role further down the line. "

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph