After throwing down the gauntlet yesterday and declaring that Liverpool are absolutely genuine title contenders this season, Steven Gerrard has thrown down a second gauntlet by stating in no uncertain terms that manager Brendan Rodgers deserves a contract extension. Gloveless and unequivocal, Gerrard vocalised what many fans have been thinking since at least December regarding securing Rodgers' services for the foreseeable future.
"Brendan has been a revelation," said the captain in a lovely, lengthy interview singing the praises of his manager that is absolutely worth your time to read in full. "From week to week he is helping us improve and get better and he has been an absolute breath of fresh air to this football club. I am sure the rest of the players would echo what I am saying.
"I am absolutely delighted he is here and I just hope that there is a lot of movement in Boston now because they have got to get him signed up as soon as possible. When players are in this situation with a year to go and you want to keep hold of them so desperately, then the club reacts really quickly and gets it sorted. For me, I think he deserves a very long contract here and I think he is perfect for this club."
While much attention has been paid to the impact Liverpool's goal scoring duo of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge has had on the club's league position, Rodgers' contributions have not gone unnoticed. For those inclined to follow transfer rumours, the usual "Barcelona to make play for key Liverpool figure" headlines this week were not referring to the Catalan club's alleged eight millionth bid for Daniel Agger but for Brendan Rodgers himself. Barcelona's woeful third place position in La Liga can only improved by a manager as in form as Rodgers is at the moment!
Silly rumours aside, much emphasis has been placed on how harmony within the team itself has been the true star of their impressive unbeaten streak. Many players have spoken of the sense of togetherness on a regular basis, and Gerrard says it's a value that comes directly from Rodgers himself.
"That starts from the top," the Scouse Pirlo said."The manager is very keen on team spirit and togetherness. When you are working together daily and trying to achieve things together, it is important you all stick together, have a laugh and enjoy it as you go along.
"But you can only get that togetherness, spirit and happiness when you do the dirty work and go the extra mile. That is what these players are doing for each other right now."
That they're not just playing with one another but for one another on each match day might just be the intangible difference between this season and other, less successful recent seasons. It's certainly not a trait that characterized Roy Hodgson's Liverpool, and while Kenny Dalglish's side certainly benefited from working with a living legend, they too lacked what we're now seeing on the pitch.
FSG and Rodgers would both probably say that they'll wait until they see where Liverpool stand at the end of the season before discussing contract extension terms, but there's something lovely about the idea of announcing a new contract right before the last home game of the season. Regardless of Liverpool's final table position this year, Rodgers has really outdone himself thus far.