Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes the club’s most important signing of the summer has been tying down Steven Gerrard to a new contract, the
Rodgers has added the likes of Kolo Toure, Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas to the ranks at Anfield over pre-season – but he told the club’s board that they would not make a more important signing than Gerrard.
Gerrard signed a new deal on Merseyside that will see him at the club until past his 36th birthday, with a testimonial against Olympiakos to be played on Saturday. The game marks Gerrard’s 15th year as a Liverpool player, with the opposition a team against which came one of Gerrard’s most famous moments – a stunning late goal to confirm Champions League progression. All the proceeds from the fixture will go to Gerrard’s charitable foundation.
“His influence here is still at such a high level – the role he’s provided for me is so important,” Rodgers said. “I told the club in the summer that our biggest signing could be Steven Gerrard, because of the influence he has on everyone. It’s about his hunger to learn and the leadership that offers.
“It’s vital to have a good lieutenant and him and [Jamie Carragher] were certainly that for me last year – and he has picked up the baton again.”
Rodgers added, however, that Gerrard has more to contribute to the Liverpool cause than his leadership qualities. “I don’t see anyone like him, he’s absolutely phenomenal and still someone who is very, very important,” the former Swansea boss continued.
“I just see the quality in his game. He is still, for me, the best passer of a ball in the Premier League. You see some of them he hits from all over the field and it’s incredible, how he strikes it. Nobody can do it like him.
“He’s 33 now, but I feel he could go on for a few years, he could adapt his role where he can become the playmaker. His role will be to make the team tick, get them playing. And for me there is no better player in the Premier League to do that.
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