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Rodgers talks up new Gerrard role

ESPN staff
January 12, 2014 « Bunting secures maiden world title | Chartbeat test »
Rodgers praises players after Stoke victory

Brendan Rodgers believes Steven Gerrard could be the perfect holding midfielder after using his captain in the role during Liverpool's 5-3 win over Stoke on Sunday.

Gerrard, 33, used to play just behind a sole striker and has spent much of the season in a deeper role, but with Lucas Leiva playing as the defensive midfielder.

But at the Britannia Stadium, where Gerrard scored a penalty, he operated behind Lucas and Jordan Henderson, the other two central midfielders in the Liverpool team.

And Rodgers believes Gerrard has the authority and the passing skills to flourish in the role just in front of the centre-backs.

He said: "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.

"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.

"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.

"And I also thought he showed great leadership as well, he was sliding across, blocking lines of pass, he was dropping in, he was making headers.

"So I think at this stage of his career - I spoke a lot to him on it - it was just about the timing of him playing the role. You saw him today and I thought he played it really well."

Rodgers also revealed he expects to have defender Mamadou Sakho back for Liverpool's next game, at home to Aston Villa on Saturday.

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