Gerrard the best ‘controlling midfielder’ in Europe, says Rodgers

The Liverpool manager feels many overlook the 33-year-old’s intelligence and claims he would not swap his captain for any other holding midfielder on the continent

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Steven Gerrard is the best midfielder in a “controlling role” in Europe.

The 33-year-old was required to adapt to a deeper role midway through the season but has played an integral part in Liverpool’s push towards the Premier League title.

“I think his form sometimes gets lost a wee bit with Steven because his leadership quality in the team is there for all to see,” Rodgers told reporters.

“We mustn’t forget that he’s arguably the best in European football in a controlling role at this moment in time.

“There’s not many players who can do what he can do – be one of the best attacking midfield players in Europe and then switch to be arguably the best controlling player.

“You look at the holding players in European football now at the top teams, I wouldn’t swap him for any of them, because of what he can give the team.”

Rodgers feels many overlook Gerrard’s anticipation skills and believes the England captain’s “intelligence” helps him dictate matches.

“He’s a playmaker but he’s unique in that he can also defend. I think what he probably doesn’t get enough credit for as well is his reading of the game,” said the Liverpool manager.

“For as long as I knew Steven Gerrard before I came in here, people would ask ‘Was he a player that just couldn’t fit in a team structure?’ He was the number 10 who needed to roam because he was so good, he needed to do that.

“He could lift the team and carry the team from whatever position he played.

“But the feature now is about the team and he’s in a structure he’s happy with.

“He’s got some top talents around him that can exploit his qualities and along with his intelligence and reading of the game, his physical condition in the role is very good as well. I could see him playing in there because of those playmaking skills. He can orchestrate the game.”

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