Rodgers heaps praise on Gerrard
Published 01/04/2013 | 06:41
Brendan Rodgers believes "inspirational" Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard can play into his late 30s after hailing a man-of-the-match performance in the 2-1 win at Aston Villa.
Rodgers, who confirmed reports that Gerrard will be offered a new contract, revealed the England captain needed an injection in his heel to enable him to play. But it did not affect the performance of the 32-year-old and he converted the winning penalty after Reds midfielder Jordan Henderson cancelled out the opener from Christian Benteke.
Rodgers said: "Steven is a remarkable man. Look at his fitness level, and his running ability. He has been like that the majority of the season. He had to get an injection in his heel to play. We had an issue with his heel for a couple of days. He had a bit of pain and was struggling to get his boot on. But for him it was a case of whatever it takes to play."
He continued: "It was nothing major but many other players might not have played or even trained. That shows the mentality and mindset of the man. He is just a real inspirational man, a top, top player, whose hunger and desire for Liverpool to succeed is incredible.
"I can't speak highly enough of him. As a guy coming from the outside who has watched him all my life, to actually work with the man is a huge pleasure and privilege. Can Gerrard play on into his late 30s? Absolutely, no question.
"Guys who do that like Giggs, Scholes, McAllister, it is not what they are doing now, it is what they have done earlier in their careers, when they were 17, 18, 19, 20. That's what allows you to play on. Gerrard has every chance to play on into his late 30s.
"He is 32 and wants to improve, he is England captain and wants to improve. He is still looking at areas he wants to improve on and just his enthusiasm to play football is remarkable."
As regards a new deal, Rodgers said: "A new contract is something on the agenda. It will happen in due course."
Villa remain in the bottom three but manager Paul Lambert has seen his side climb out of the relegation zone on four occasions this season and continues to take heart from their performances. He said: "For 45 minutes we were excellent, we competed brilliantly, we looked a threat every time we went forward against a really good side.
"The goal two minutes after the restart was disappointing to lose. But we are playing well enough to win games. We are four points from 11th place. There's going to be some twists and turns. The thing for myself is that in spells we are playing really well and confidence is a big part of the game of football. If you keep that, then that will certainly help you."