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Gerrard told to curb aggression

ESPN staff
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Reds in contention

Brendan Rodgers says Steven Gerrard is "clever enough" to avoid the booking that would bring him a two-match ban as the title race heads towards its climax.

The Liverpool captain is set to face Sunderland at Anfield on Wednesday in the knowledge that he could miss a chunk of his club's challenge for their first league title since 1990 if he makes a disciplinary slip.

Gerrard, 33, picked up his ninth yellow card of the season during Saturday's 6-3 Premier League victory against Cardiff.

If he is booked for a 10th time on or before April 13, he will automatically incur a two-game suspension.

Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, said: "He just has to be a bit more cautious but he is clever enough to get through that."

The threat of a ban has crept up on the England captain, who was booked only twice in his first 21 appearances of the season for his club.

He has received seven yellow cards in his last 11 appearances - a period which has seen him drop back into a holding midfield role - and has to curb his approach in Liverpool's next four games.

Gerrard will have to tread more carefully than he has been against Sunderland, Tottenham, West Ham and Manchester City before the suspension cut-off date passes.

"We just have to cope with the situation," Rodgers said. "I have spoken to him about it and we just have to be that extra bit careful.

"His last two bookings have been unlucky. The one against Manchester United should never have been a booking.

"He won a header that was very difficult to win - and he was unfortunate against Cardiff at the weekend, because he committed a foul which also should not have been a booking.

"We didn't help him because we gave away the ball so cheaply. He has been unfortunate picking up some unnecessary bookings that were not through him."

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