Liverpool offer new contract to captain Steven Gerrard
Liverpool’s veteran captain Steven Gerrard has been offered a new contract by the club, manager Brendan Rodgers announced on Monday
“Firstly in terms of the club, the latest is that Steven Gerrard and his representatives have been offered a contract here and at this moment in time that’s where it’s at,” Rodgers said ahead of Liverpool’s match away to bottom of the English Premier League Leicester City on Tuesday night.
The Northern Irishman said he had no fears that the midfielder could reject the deal and be in a position to walk away from the club at the end of the season.
“I’ve spoken to him enough times at length and that won’t be the case,” Rodgers said.
“Between now and the end of the season, he deserves the opportunity to think.”
Gerrard, 34, who retired from international duty with England in the summer, has spent his 16-year professional career at hometown side Liverpool.
In October he said he could leave Anfield if he was not offered a new deal.
“I won’t be retiring this summer,” said Gerrard, whose contract expires in May. “I will play beyond this season. We will have to wait and see if that’s at Liverpool or somewhere else. That’s Liverpool’s decision.”
Saturday saw Gerrard dropped to the bench for Liverpool’s 1-0 Premier League win over Stoke City at Anfield, a match that took place on the 16th anniversary of his debut for the club.
Rodgers was adamant there was nothing more in his decision to place Gerrard among the substitutes than his belief it was not realistic to expect the former England captain to play every game.
Gerrard rubbished Sunday reports of a rift with Rodgers by posting a photo of himself and the manager at training on Instagram, together with the message: “Just to set the record straight media talk of a fall out between us 2 is NONSENSE.”
Gerrard came on late against Stoke, with Rodgers deploying Lucas Leiva in the anchor midfield position he usually plays.
Rodgers’s decision appeared vindicated by a much-needed win and a clean sheet.
The Liverpool manager, when asked yesterday if there was a rift between himself and Gerrard, said: “No, 150 per cent no.
“If there are two words that describe our relationship it would be honest and respect. He is arguably the best player to ever play in the Premier League.
“It’s not so much about the number of games he plays now, it’s about the level of the game and that is something we will look at.”
Gerrard is expected to return to Liverpool’s line-up at Leicester as the club seek only their third league away win of the season.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Jose Mourinho says Chelsea are being hit by a “contradiction” in Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules, which he claims help the club’s rivals. The Portuguese manager had to balance the Stamford Bridge books over the summer, selling Demba Ba, David Luiz and Romelu Lukaku to fund moves for Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis. Despite having the financial windfalls of Uefa Champions League football, Mourinho was unable to spend as freely as other sides – with Manchester United a prime example as Louis van Gaal went out and paid high sums despite their lack of European football this season. Mourinho, whose Chelsea side sit top of the table having gone unbeaten in all competitions so far this term, says more “traditional” clubs are the beneficiaries of Uefa’s imposed financial constraints. “I think Financial Fair Play is a contradiction,” he said. “What happened really with the Financial Fair Play is a big protection to the historical, old, big clubs, which have a financial structure, a commercial structure, everything in place based on historical success for years and years and years.”
Ronald Koeman accepts Southampton face a “difficult” challenge to cope without injured “key player” Morgan Schneiderlin at Arsenal tomorrow night. The Frenchman hobbled out of his side’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at half time on Sunday. The 25-year-old midfield linchpin is to have scans on his right adductor. “For sure he isn’t available for this Wednesday, but he’ll have scans to find out exactly what happened,” Koeman said. “We know exactly what Morgan means for our team: he’s one of our key players, and if you miss a key player it’s always difficult for the rest of the team.”
Injury problems have hit “critical” ahead of Tuesday night’s visit to Burnley. That was the assessment of manager Alan Pardew, who will take a threadbare squad to Turf Moor. Goalkeeper Tim Krul, captain Fabriccio Coloccini and Rolando Aarons are all injured, while Moussa Sissoko is banned after being sent off against West Ham United on Saturday and Jack Colback is also suspended, so Newcastle are likely to be below strength. “It is critical, I would say, in terms of the spine of the team,” Pardew said. “We’re taking 22 players to Burnley, and three of them are youth-team players.”
Manager Paul Lambert hopes the return of striker Christian Benteke from suspension can provide the extra spark his side needs. Benteke is available again for Villa’s trip to Crystal Palace tonight after completing a three-match ban for his sending off against Tottenham Hotspur. Villa have struggled for goals without him and Lambert said: “He’s still going to be match-fitness down because he didn’t play for a number of months, but against Spurs I thought he was fantastic for us.”
Harry Redknapp expects Charlie Austin to be offered a new contract but denies Queens Park Rangers are fighting off interest from other clubs. Austin, 25, has netted seven goals this season, but he has only 18 months to run on his current deal. “I’m sure everyone wants to keep Charlie here and I’m sure they’ll be sitting down and talking to him,” said Redknapp, the QPR manager. “We’ve not had any inquiries from anyone else as far as I know.”
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Published: December 1, 2014 04:00 AM