Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has claimed he was unaware of the 16th anniversary of Steven Gerrard's debut when leaving him out of the side to face Stoke City.
It was the first time since New Year's Day the former England skipper had been left out of the Reds line-up in the Premier League.
The 34-year-old, who retired from international football following a disappointing World Cup in Brazil, has endured a tough season so far.
Rumours that the midfielder may leave Anfield in the summer have been rife with his contract set to expire at the end of the campaign.
"I wasn't aware it was 16 years until I walked into the dressing room and saw the programme," Rodgers said after the 1-0 win over Mark Hughes' men.
"I felt quite bad but he's a wonderful man. He thinks about the team."
He managed to play 90 minutes during the 2-2 away draw with Ludogorets in the midweek Champions League tie and went on to replace Lucas in the 75th minute against Stoke.
"I look at each game and put the players in I think will get us a result," Rodgers continued.
"He came on and gave a great contribution when his experience and his stature in the game helped us.
"He will always play a part in our work. Every player wants to play every minute of every game but the reality is that at this level, and how competitive it is and the squad we have got here, you can't just rely on Steven in every single game.
"He's been brilliant for me in my time here."
Gerrard took to Instagram on Sunday morning to refute any rumours of a rift with Rodgers: "Just to set the record straight media talk of a fall out between us 2 is NONSENSE ..have a nice Sunday."Reuse content