Gerrard can handle Chelsea taunts – Rodgers

The Liverpool captain is expected to be subjected to more abuse when the Blues visit Anfield for Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final first leg but his manager is unconcerned

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is confident Steven Gerrard can handle any taunts that may come his way when Chelsea visit Anfield on Tuesday.

Gerrard has been repeatedly mocked by Chelsea fans after a costly slip that led to Demba Ba opening the scoring when the two sides met in April, with Liverpool subsequently suffering a 2-0 defeat and finishing behind Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title.

Ahead of this week’s League Cup semi-final between the two sides, which will see Liverpool host the first leg, Jose Mourinho spoke of his admiration for Gerrard and suggested Chelsea’s fans should end their taunting of the former England captain.

Rodgers acknowledged Mourinho’s respect for a player the Portuguese tried to sign in his first spell as Chelsea boss, but believes Gerrard will not be fazed should he come in for further criticism.

“I think Jose is probably talking out of respect for a player that is one of the best that this league has ever seen,” said Rodgers.

“I think sometimes the players get a wee bit of stick, maybe once or twice, but this was ongoing.

“I reiterate that Steven was a big part of the reason that we challenged for the title. It wasn’t because of his slip that we lost it. He was a big part of why we nearly won it.

“But he’s a strong character and knows how to cope with that, and has dealt with it all his career. He will have no problem dealing with it.”

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