Brendan Rodgers tells struggling Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard to act natural

 

Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, has spoken for the first time about Steven Gerrard's poor form this season and said that the captain's sense of responsibility to the young players in the re-shaped team may be on his mind.

Gerrard has scored two goals in 20 games but has also become far more anonymous in the Liverpool midfield, with his performance at Swansea on Sunday one of the poorest in recent years by his standards.

It is hard to avoid the impression that the 32-year-old is taking time to adjust to the manager's new system, which militates against him playing the immediate long pass which has become one of his trademarks. In Rodgers' three-man midfield, Gerrard is neither the link-up man with Luis Suarez nor the defensive shield and has rarely looked so lost as he did at the Liberty Stadium.

Rodgers, whose side go to Tottenham Hotspur tonight, said: "Obviously as the skipper of this club and going through this period he'll maybe feel [the need to rein himself in because of the younger players]. He is so focused on improving this club so it's maybe something subconsciously that is within his mind."

The manager also insisted that there had been no change in the offensive role Gerrard was being asked to play. Rodgers said: "Playing in the 4-3-3 you've got one pivot and two advanced players and it's really those two [including Gerrard] we want to get in the box and scoring goals and that gives us five attacking players all the time with your front three.

"It's his instinct. The great thing is he wants to penetrate. Our game isn't about possession. It's about tempo and the speed of the game, and the way he plays and passes and the tempo of his game is superb. I just want him to be the player he is.

"He's 32 years of age. Steven's one that will fit into the team's balance when we haven't got the ball. But there's been nothing different asked really, because it is the responsibility of the midfield player to get forward and get a goal."

Rodgers, who agreed that the uncertainty created by the change of manager at Chelsea might help in his own club's attempts to secure Daniel Sturridge's signature, was coy when it was put to him that he might have become Spurs manager in the summer: "It's irrelevant and no [it's not interesting]."

Lucas Leiva will be back in the squad against Southampton on Saturday after recovering from injury.

Odds Tottenham 7-5 Draw 12-5 Liverpool 15-8

Kick-off 7.45pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.45pm)

Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Voices
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
voices
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
News
Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey
peopleBut who comes top of the wish list?
News
Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, right, with Lib Dem candidate Jane Dodds in Newtown, Powys, as part of her tour in support of the party’s female candidates
general electionNick Clegg's wife has impressed during the campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living