Gerrard set for Reds milestone

Rafael Benitez has hailed Steven Gerrard's passion and commitment as the midfielder prepares to make his 500th appearance for Liverpool.

Gerrard, 29, will join an elite group of players to have reached the milestone for the Anfield club and has been described as the 'complete midfielder' by Benitez.

"To play 500 games is a massive achievement for any player, especially at the same club," Benitez told the club's official website.

"He has reached this stage by showing the same passion and commitment for many years.

"Hopefully he can still play a lot more games for Liverpool. He is at a good age and is very professional. He will reach 500 games this weekend, but can still play another 200 or more games for this club.

"Steven is a key player for us, the kind of player that can make a difference in a game.

"We have some important players but Stevie is one of those that, when he is playing well, the team can win any game. It doesn't matter if the other players aren't playing well, he can win a game for you with one special moment."

Meanwhile, Benitez believes the England midfielder has improved immeasurably during his time at the helm of the Merseyside club.

"I think he is better now because he has been learning for years," continued the Spaniard.

"He has learned under different managers but for the past five years we have been talking a lot about different parts of his game and how he could improve. He has always been willing to learn.

"He is always learning and knows the game much better now than when I first came to the club."

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