Michael Owen believes that his former team-mate Steven Gerrard has increased his chances of lifting the elusive Premier League trophy with Liverpool by giving up on his England career.

The 34-year-old midfielder yesterday announced his decision to step down as the Three Lions’ skipper and bring his time in the international set-up to an end after claiming 114 caps.

Gerrard has been an ever-present for England since breaking through to the senior team in 2000, and is widely hailed as one of the very best midfield players to have played in the white shirt.

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Although his form and fitness are still evident, the veteran is said to have reached the decision in a bid to prolong his time in Liverpool’s first-team, with the Reds having come very close to a first ever Premier League title last season.

In his glittering career Gerrard has lifted the Champions League, the FA Cup twice and the League Cup on three occasions, but league honours have evaded him.

Owen – who played alongside the Anfield idol while at Liverpool – believes that his old team-mate’s chances of claiming the prize he seeks are not gone, and may have improved due to his England decision:

“I believe Stevie’s decision to stand down from international duty has in no small part been made with a view to prolonging his career at Liverpool.” He is quoted by The Express.

“Despite England’s lack of success during his time with them, I for one hope he can add to his already impressive haul with Liverpool by lifting the one piece of domestic silverware, which has eluded him thus far.

“England will miss Gerrard, but Liverpool will definitely feel the benefit of him resting during the international breaks in the Premier League.”

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