Rodgers hails 'great' Gerrard

  • Last Updated: November 3 2012, 14:27 GMT

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will make his 600th appearance for his boyhood club on Sunday with manager Brendan Rodgers hailing the midfielder as a genuine modern-day great.

Gerrard: Preparing for his 600th Liverpool appearance

The 32-year-old made his debut in November 1988 and has long since been established as one of the Reds' greatest players.

When he leads out the side at Anfield against Newcastle on Sunday will become only the 10th player to have clocked up 600 matches for the club.

Despite criticism in the past about Gerrard not performing in an England shirt Rodgers believes now is the time to start truly appreciating the inspirational midfielder.

"Players of that ilk come around very rarely," said the Northern Irishman.

"I think he is a player that supporters should really make the most of the years he has left.

"He still has a number of years left, don't get me wrong, but this guy has quality.

"You saw him the other night when we were playing Swansea and the game was flat in the first half.

"He dons his Superman cape, comes on and changes the whole dynamic of the game.

"That is what great players do and this is one of the modern greats of the game.

"What is even more of a pleasure to see is how he devotes his life to it.

"He is 32 and he wants to learn. We are looking at videos of his game to improve him and that has to come from him.

"That is self-motivation and a self-drive to be better.

"He is not settling on everything he has had in his career, he is wanting to improve and he is an incredible talent who is a real pleasure to work with.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, he's an iconic figure for this football club."

Current team-mate Jamie Carragher is second on the all-time list with 710 appearances but he believes Gerrard, two years his junior, will eventually surpass him.

"I would imagine he'll play more games. He's been a better player than me for Liverpool so he thoroughly deserves that," Carragher, whose career at Anfield is drawing to an end having been relegated to Capital One Cup and Europa League matches this season, told liverpoolfc.com.

"When Stevie gets to my position - and I don't know if he'll want to be in the position I've been in for the last six to 12 months because I've been on the bench a lot - he will still always come on.

"If you look at the Swansea game he's still getting brought off the bench to rescue it for us - that's been the way for 13 or 14 years now.

"When that changes, maybe he'll look at it, but he's still expected to produce the Superman act at 32, so I think we're still a while away from that changing."

While Rodgers waxed lyrical about one of the club's all-time greats, he also reserved praise for a player he feels has not got the credit he has deserved over the last year.

Glen Johnson, currently battling a hamstring niggle to be fit for tomorrow, has over the last 12 months been switched from the right of defence to the left, returned and then moved back again.

Rodgers feels that has hidden the influence he has had, particularly this season.

"Glen has arguably been the player of the Premier League, never mind Liverpool," said the Reds boss.

"He has been absolutely outstanding when you consider he has played a lot of the season at left-back.

"He is a world-class full-back and when you miss a player of that quality it does weaken you as a team, of course.

"I look at him and (Barcelona's) Dani Alves as the two best right-backs in world football.

"I don't know how he has been beforehand but he is absolutely fantastic.

"He has shown he is a top player and I've been very impressed with Glen: his attitude to training and the game and the fact he's had to fill in at left-back because of Jose Enrique's injury this year."


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