Liverpool have offered Steven Gerrard a new contract in order to extend his playing career at the club beyond this season and his 35th birthday, and Brendan Rodgers has been overwhelmingly positive about the Liverpool captain's influence as a player and person during the manager's tenure at the club to date. Liverpool may be entering a period where Steven Gerrard will have to become accustomed to playing fewer games than he's used to, but with increased age combined with decreased physical prowess, will this scenario be one the captain will be able to accept?
Gerrard Offered New Contract
Speaking to the media, Brendan Rodgers denied rumours of a falling out between him and Steven Gerrard and confirmed that his captain had been offered a new contract.
Gerrard has been a player who has enjoyed the manager's trust and favour at all times, to the increasing annoyance of fans who have called for greater rotation for the benefit of the manager, the squad, and the player in question. However, being rested for the majority of one game has been seen as evidence of problems between manager and captain instead of a belated bit of decision-making for the betterment of the club.
Brendan Rodgers confirmed the offer of a contract in the presence of reporters at Melwood a few days ago and hopes that Gerrard would accept an extension of a long relationship with his boyhood club. Vice-captain Jordan Henderson has revealed his desire to see the captain remain with the club and held little back in praising his captain. If there was any doubt about the captain's importance to the squad, pay attention to Jordan Henderson's judgement of his captain.
"I hope he stays on for as long as he can while he is playing," said Henderson on the prospect of the captain's departure at the end of the season. "Even after that, I want him to stay on for as long as possible. He has been the best player, I think, for a number of years. Not just for Liverpool but in the Premier League. And I think he still is. I hope we keep him because he is a massive player for us and a great leader. Everyone has got a lot of respect for him. He leads by example. He is a top player but he is also a top person. The lads can go to him with anything. He will always help them out and put them first. That is massive as a captain. Everyone gets on really well with him."
For Jordan Henderson, Gerrard's departure would see the former Sunderland player rise to the position of captain, but many have pointed to the lack of leadership within the squad. Perhaps the likes of Henderson, Mamadou Sakho, and Dejan Lovren may need an extra couple of season to reach a point where they can be counted on to inspire colleagues when troubled times arise. Perhaps that's why Rodgers has turned to some of the more experienced members of the squad to arrest Liverpool's slump in form. Gerrard's experience, professionalism, and stature can still benefit Liverpool on the training pitch, in the dressing room, and during tense moments in games. For Henderson, it is imperative to keep such a figure around for as long as possible.
"It is down to him, the club and his representatives to sort it out," said Henderson. "He is huge for us and we need to keep him for as long as we can. Liverpool without Steven Gerrard is unimaginable. Nobody wants to lose him - I'm sure the club feel that way as well."