Football News

Rodgers urges team-mates to support Gerrard

Created on 30 Nov., 2012 4:30 AM GMT

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says his side must do more to support captain Steven Gerrard.

The 32-year-old has scored just once in 13 Premier League appearances so far this term and has struggled for consistency.

But Rodgers feels the weight of responsibility is currently lying solely on the shoulders of his skipper, and believes the other players in his squad need to do more.

"Steven was outstanding last night (against Tottenham). He's carried this club for nearly 13 years and it's about time that there was more than Steven picking up the baton of responsibility," Rodgers said.

"He's been brilliant since I arrived here. His inspiration and leadership within the team has been phenomenal.

"He might not have got the goals that he wanted this season, but you saw him last night - his range of passing, commitment and drive into the box was superb.

"He has been judged on his goals because he's been a goalscoring midfielder over the years, but he's still offering this group so much on and off the field.

"There are others that we want to step up to the plate and get the goals. Across the board we want to improve and find the solutions."

Liverpool were denied two penalty claims in their 2-1 defeat to Tottenham on Wednesday and, though Rodgers refused to blame officials, he feels his side may need their luck to change.

"The referees are doing an honest job. They turn up for every game and make an honest assessment," said the 39-year-old.

"Hopefully we can get one or two bits of luck in the second half of the season and benefit from that. I respect that they come in and do a good job - it just seems that this season quite a lot has gone against us.

"You need a wee bit of luck along the way. We went to Tottenham and dominated the game, but we didn't get the result and that's what's important.

"Over the next month or so we've got to turn these performances into wins. We had a run of eight games where we were unbeaten, looked solid and the quality of our game was good."

Meanwhile, Rodgers confirmed that Lucas Leiva will return to the squad for the game against Southampton on Saturday.

The former Gremio midfielder has been sidelined since August 26 due to a thigh injury but returned against Middlesbrough for the Liverpool Under-21s side on Friday.

The Reds boss hailed the return of the Brazil international, who had only just returned from an even lengthier absence before his latest setback, as a 'big boost'.

"Lucas Leiva will return to the squad, which is great news because he's been working very, very hard and played the reserve game last week," Rodgers said.

"He's very much looking forward to it. He's worked tirelessly in his recovery. We're just trying to nudge him along and make sure it's the right time.

"His next step is games, so hopefully in the next couple of weeks he'll get opportunities to play and improve his football fitness.

"Mentally he's a tough boy. His mental fitness is very strong and he's looking forward to helping the team.

"It's a big boost because he's well in tune with what we're trying to do here. He's been kicking his heels on the side wanting to help his mates and the group, so I am delighted to have him back."