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Gerrard Won't Walk Straight Back Into the Starting Line Up

He may be gearing up to make a return from injury, but Steven Gerrard isn't guaranteed a spot in the starting line-up just by virtue of being fit, says his manager.

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Amongst the many stats being passed around at the moment is that Liverpool are unbeaten in every match in which Jordan Henderson has worn the armband. For all the success the club has had with Henderson at the helm, though, it speaks to a second stat capable of sucking the air out of any room: Liverpool are unbeaten with Steven Gerrard out of the line-up.

Gerrard's absence due to injury has freed Brendan Rodgers to make tactical choices he might not otherwise be able to make if the captain were the first name on the team sheet. Those choices have translated into significant success on the pitch, something that many fans are hesitant to see changed in order to accommodate Gerrard upon his return.

"There is no-one in the squad who has a God-given right to walk straight into the team," Rodgers was quick to point out. "Every player has a battle to get into the team, the way we are playing. It probably would be an issue for other people but certainly not for me and not for Steven. He is very much a team player and if he was on the bench because the team was in good form and playing well I think everyone respects that."

It turns out that the team is in good form and playing well, which makes keeping Gerrard on the bench seem like an easy choice for Rodgers. Of course, keeping your talismanic captain on the bench when the only reason he's leaving in the first place is because he wants to play all the minutes is hardly easy. Rodgers isn't worried about that yet, though, as Gerrard isn't even ready for the bench yet.

"For me the most important thing in the first case is having Steven available," Rodgers continued. "He is not fit yet so we just need to get him back and then if that was the case you would have to ask Steven how he feels. He is an outstanding player still and having him back makes us a better squad.

"I have shown my time here players who are performing well, irrespective of price or status, they play - simple as that. Let's see how the season pans out and then review it then."

Sure thing, boss.

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