Football Football

Gerrard must fight for place on return


GERRARD-PENALTYLIVERPOOL, March 7- Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says skipper Steven Gerrard won’t slot straight back into the starting line-up once he returns from injury.

The Reds stalwart has been sidelined by a hamstring injury for much of this year and in his absence Jordan Henderson has staked his claim for a first-team berth.

Henderson has even donned the captain’s armband in the absence of Gerrard, playing a crucial role in the Merseyside outfit’s unbeaten run since the turn of the year.

Gerrard, who will join MLS outfit Los Angeles Galaxy when his contract expires at the end of the season, is edging towards a return to action and could feature against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday.

However, Rodgers has warned the club’s supporters not to expect to see Gerrard slot straight back into starting XI.

“There is no-one in the squad who has a God-given right to walk straight into the team,” said Rodgers.

“I have shown in my time here that players who are performing well, irrespective of price or status, they play – simple as that.

“Steven is very much a team man and if he was on the bench because the team was in good form and playing well, I think everyone respects that.”

When asked whether he felt that comparisons between Gerrard and Henderson were accurate, he added: “Jordan is a young guy who is a wonderful talent but he is a different type of player.

“Just because he takes a corner and Steven Gerrard takes a corner, or because he shoots from outside the box and so does Steven, it doesn’t mean he is the new Steven Gerrard.

“He is Jordan Henderson and he is creating his own career and headlines.”