Rodgers On Gerrard And New Faces

At this stage the jokes about the skipper's tiny forehead were becoming irksome.... - Clive Brunskill

Whilst most clubs are flailing around, looking to do their initial piece of business in the transfer market, Brendan Rodgers and his recruitment team have already added four players, but the manager is certain Steven Gerrard will still be vital.

Brendan Rodgers, it would seem, is a man capable of learning from the mistakes of the past. The Liverpool boss has allowed no grass to grow beneath his feet this summer as he attempts to avoid the last minute disappointments of 2012. To be fair to the man, those mistakes were far from exclusively his, and in January we saw a precedent for the kind of swift, decisive deals for promising young talent that have been the main feature of the current window.

With Kolo Toure, Simon Mignolet, Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto already added to the squad, and several players looking like joining Jamie Carragher on the absent friends list, the squad is already taking on a new and hopefully lustrous complexion. Rodgers, however, insists that one veteran club-lifer, Steven Gerrard, will be essential to any movement forward the club is looking to make.

"He's thirty three but Steven is still an integral part of what I'm trying to do here and will be for the next few years," the gaffer told Sky Sports. "He had his operation towards the end of the season and the plan was for him to continue his rehab during the off-season. It's a big credit to him -- he's worked tirelessly over the summer. He won't be too far away. He looks great and is in great condition."

There won't be many who aren't glad to hear that the captain is close to complete fitness, and on the back of last campaign's impressive run of consecutive games, no doubt the man himself is looking to repeat the the trick this time out. It would surely be folly for Rodgers and Gerrard to conspire to make that happen, for whilst the England skipper's form was generally excellent last season, his effectiveness was diminished by the one-eyed strategy of keeping him on the pitch at all costs. It became nothing short of farcical to watch Gerrard play out the final twenty minutes of matches that were in the bag.

As regards his thoughts on further market activity, Rodgers was quite sanguine. He envisages further movement but he seems to be calm and unperturbed about any uncertainty, emboldened no doubt, by his early successes. It's particularly interesting to hear him speak about where he feels the squad still needs altering and supplementation.

"I still think another attacking, creative player, and depending on what goes out of the club -- because naturally there might be one or two players who need to go out and play more -- then we'll need to fill those areas that have been vacated," the manager told the club's official website. "Certainly another attacking player will really benefit us and probably another defender. We'll see how it develops over the course of the next few months."

Those last quotes were a shocker to your humble scribbler, dear readers. "Probably" another defender? Really, Brendan? Does this mean that in Rodgers' head Touré is a first-teamer? Has Martin Skrtel been fully rehabilitated in the manager's eyes? Is André Wisdom a lock? Or Martin Kelly? Interesting stuff. Also, just who falls into the category of players who "need to go out and play more?" One presumes Suso and Raheem Sterling are atop said list.

The manager is relieved that the strategies and procedures around Liverpool's transfer dealings have changed and insists that the benefits of those changes are clear to see.

"It's great -- it's a big thing to the club because we looked at last summer and there were lots of things that were difficult for us. That meant the opening period of the season was difficult. From that, we've got all our people involved, our recruitment team in -- and they got to work as soon as they came in. We brought great signings in in January and that's really helped us. Obviously, the plan was to get our signings in as soon as we possibly could -- and we still hope to make a few more."

It would be a particularly embittered and cynical sort whose shrivelled heart would not swell a little with hope and excitement at this time of the year, when all is possible and exciting and fresh. I love this stage of proceedings and feel like the tentative and yet thrilled child dazzled by the potential and sheen of his new school and yet to have his head flushed down the toilet by the Mancunian bullies from up the M62. Maybe this isn't such a bad old place? Maybe this is the year? Maybe.

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