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Sunday 19 November 2017

Liverpool would be lost without Gerrard - Rodgers

Chris Bascombe

Brendan Rodgers has underlined the importance of captain Steven Gerrard by admitting he has no idea how Liverpool would cope without him.

Contract negotiations have yet to start with Gerrard – who has 16 months left on his existing deal – but Rodgers, who expects to confirm the £8.5m signing of Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan tomorrow, is eager to impress on the owners the need to retain the 32-year-old.

A familiar theme has emerged at Anfield ahead of tonight's trip to Arsenal as a recently appointed manager again finds himself turning to the club's Mersey stalwarts, Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, to offer leadership.

Carragher will return to stiffen Liverpool's defence at The Emirates. It will be the 35-year-old's third league start this season.

Gerrard was summoned from the bench in a forlorn effort to spare Liverpool's FA Cup embarrassment at Boundary Park. His response further underlined the gulf in quality between the captain and others.

"Steven Gerrard is a unique player. When he came on at Oldham it was like someone had dropped him from heaven into the game," Rodgers said. "We went to a totally different level when he came on.

"Unfortunately at this stage I can't say that without Steven Gerrard we would be all right because I don't believe we would."

Rodgers believes a contract extension should be a formality. "Steven and I have spoken a number of times. There's no doubt that between now and the end of this season the contract will be looked at. At 32, he still looks so fit, strong and you can see his influence on the team."

Liverpool officials attended a work permit hearing on behalf of Coutinho in London yesterday. The 20-year-old's wife has Portuguese citizenship, which the club hope means he will have no problems being granted the chance to live and work in the UK. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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