Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will have to accept he has a reduced role to play at the club if he agrees to extend his stay beyond the end of his current contract.
The midfielder’s existing deal runs out in the summer, by which time he will be 35, and while an offer of new terms on what is believedto be a one-year deal has been made, the player is still mulling over his decision.
Coach Brendan Rodgers believes Gerrard has earned the right to take his time over his next move and insists the pair have had honest conversations about what the future holds for him in the team.
The midfielder has featured in every Premier League match this season but Saturday’s victory over Stoke, when he was left on the bench until the final 20 minutes – the first time he had not played the full 90 minutes in the Premier League this season.
Gerrard was also left on the bench for Liverpool’s visit to Real Madrid in the Bernabeu last month and Rodgers admits that is something he will have to get used to if he is to remain at Anfield beyond this season.
“He’s at the stage of his career where it’s not so much the number of games he plays now, it’s about the level of the game – and that’s something I’ll always work with him and we’ll look at,” he said.
“No matter how good a player has been, once they’re coming towards those final years of their career, then of course as a manager, you’re having to taper that in where you think you can get the best out of the player.
“He’s still a wonderful player. I’m sitting here talking about a player that has still got world-class talent, but of course, when you get that little bit older and maybe physically it’s not quite the same, you have to manage that.
“He will continue to be a key player for me and I am hoping we can get a contract sorted.
“It is not a problem, it is not an issue. We speak a lot and all I can even be is as honest as I possibly can and offer him the respect because he deserves that and that is how it will always be.”
Gerrard could return to the starting line-up for tonight’s trip to Leicester as Liverpool look to maintain winning ways and keep back-to-back clean sheets in the league for the first time since March.
Foxes boss Nigel Pearson insists he will keep faith with his side despite slipping to the bottom of the table and remains positive as his team search for their first win in nine games.
“We’re in a position we don’t want to be in of course. I thinkthere is a temptation to look too negatively but the game in isolation
at the weekend we could have done lots of good things.
“We have lost another game and need to rectify it pretty quickly. It’s a good game for us.”