Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes that Steven Gerrard can continue to play at the highest level into his 40s.
The longevity of the Reds’ iconic skipper’s career has come into question this season, with worries about a lack of dynamism and the ability to fit into a high-tempo pressing playing style having been much talked about.
As a result he has slowly moved back down the pitch, with his days of supporting the strikers – as he did during the club’s successful spell with Fernando Torres – now a distant memory.
Gerrard was used in a deep-lying role during last weekend’s victory at Stoke, where he was issued with instructions to mount attacks from in front of his own backline.
Both Andrea Pirlo and Javier Zanetti have prolonged their careers in Italy by moving into such roles, and Rodgers believes that his 33-year-old captain will thrive in the new position:
“Maybe he wasn’t ready to do it 18 months ago because he had so much to his game, but it is a position that I know excites him now,” he is quoted by The Mirror.
“Tactically, once he does more work on when to become the third man dropping in or pushing on, he’s got a great chance of playing that role to the level of a Pirlo or a Javier Zanetti. They are doing it late in their 30s – Zanetti is 40 – and because of the way Stevie looks after himself, that is a position he can play for sure.
“It’s not a case of putting him back into that role because he’s Steven Gerrard – it’s because I think he’s got the qualities to play and operate in that position at a very high level.”