Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers declared today that Steven Gerrard has been offered a new contract by the club and said that he should be given the time and respect he deserves as he considers whether to accept it.
Rodgers expressed disappointment that his decision to leave Gerrard out of the side that bet Stoke City at Anfield on Saturday had been followed by reports of a rift between the two of them. "That's disappointing and... 150 per cent no there is not a problem," Rodgers said. But he also offered no suggestion that Gerrard would accept the new deal, insisting instead that Gerrard must not be rushed.
“The latest is we have spoken to Steven and his representative and he has been offered a contract here. At this moment that is where it is at,” added Rodgers, whose side face Leicester away tomorrow . “For everything he has done here over 16 years he deserves the respect and time to consider that. It’s a big move in his life in terms of determining where his next contract will be. It certainly won’t be about money. I have spoken to him enough times and at length, so he deserves the opportunity to think abut that. He is the best player I have worked in with the Premier League and I hope that continues, but i will give him as long as it takes.
“I saw some things written that were unfortunate in terms of a rift. There is only honesty and respect between us. He is at the stage of his career where it’s not only about the number of games he plays but quality of those games."Rodgers insisted that the challenge was to manage Gerrard's game time now, to ensure that he was delivering his best. “It is always the case no matter how good they have, once a player gets to the final years you have to work out how to get the best from him," he said. "Everyone knows his history and what a player he has been and still is. I still see that talent. He is a wonderful player. We are talking about someone who is still a world class talent but when you get older you have to manage that.
“Every players wants to play every game but his focus has always been on the team. It is about managing the period of his life he is in. It reaches every player. It is not an issue or a problem."
Rodgers insisted that money would not be the stumbling block between the club and Gerrard, though it is between Glen Johnson and Liverpool, who will pay their full-back around half his current lucrative salary to extend. Johnson said at the weekend that the club's owners Fenway Sports Group had not offered him a new deal. But Rodgers said negotiations were under way.
“There were discussions between Glen his representatives and the club at the end of last season and that’s between them," Rodgers said.
"I’m not sure how far down the line that is. I had a conversation with Glen the other week about keeping his focus and there have not been too many times – apart from when he has been out with injury – when he has not been first class. His goal at the weekend showed that.”
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