You are viewing the content for Saturday 25 February 2006

Gerrard takes centre stage

Steven Gerrard

By Paul Walker
STEVEN GERRARD returns to his favoured central midfield role to galvanise Liverpool’s final months of a frantic season.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, while confirming eye injury victim Mohamed Sissoko is unlikely to play again this season, accepts he has a major problem in central midfield.

For weeks Gerrard has been used on the right wing, but the loss of Sissoko will force the Anfield chief to abandon that role for his captain and restore him to his best position in the centre.

Liverpool are still fighting on three fronts and tomorrow’s home Premiership game with Manchester City follows the 1-0 first-leg defeat by Benfica in their Champions League last 16 match on Tuesday.

Benitez cannot afford to use Gerrard wide any longer and he said of his inspirational captain: "He can change matches, and he can do that better from the centre."

Gerrard - who played only 12 minutes in Lisbon because of a leg injury - will then go off on England duty next week.

Liverpool have had slightly better reports on Sissoko’s damaged eye.

Benitez said: "He is now more confident about the situation, and we must wait a week for him to have rest and then he will see another specialist."

Liverpool will be without the suspended Jamie Carragher while Robbie Fowler will not be involved as part of the agreement that followed his transfer back to Anfield from City.

Benitez will replace Carragher with Daniel Agger or Djimi Traore.

Benitez also managed a dig at Chelsea’s boss Jose Mourinho. Benitez fumed when Chelsea winger Arjen Robben was accused of diving to get Reds’ keeper Jose Reina sent off. Benitez admits he had a "smile on my face" watching Asier del Horno’s sending-off in Chelsea’s Champions’ League defeat to Barcelona.

 

Gerrard takes centre stage

Steven Gerrard

By Paul Walker
STEVEN GERRARD returns to his favoured central midfield role to galvanise Liverpool’s final months of a frantic season.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, while confirming eye injury victim Mohamed Sissoko is unlikely to play again this season, accepts he has a major problem in central midfield.

For weeks Gerrard has been used on the right wing, but the loss of Sissoko will force the Anfield chief to abandon that role for his captain and restore him to his best position in the centre.

Liverpool are still fighting on three fronts and tomorrow’s home Premiership game with Manchester City follows the 1-0 first-leg defeat by Benfica in their Champions League last 16 match on Tuesday.

Benitez cannot afford to use Gerrard wide any longer and he said of his inspirational captain: "He can change matches, and he can do that better from the centre."

Gerrard - who played only 12 minutes in Lisbon because of a leg injury - will then go off on England duty next week.

Liverpool have had slightly better reports on Sissoko’s damaged eye.

Benitez said: "He is now more confident about the situation, and we must wait a week for him to have rest and then he will see another specialist."

Liverpool will be without the suspended Jamie Carragher while Robbie Fowler will not be involved as part of the agreement that followed his transfer back to Anfield from City.

Benitez will replace Carragher with Daniel Agger or Djimi Traore.

Benitez also managed a dig at Chelsea’s boss Jose Mourinho. Benitez fumed when Chelsea winger Arjen Robben was accused of diving to get Reds’ keeper Jose Reina sent off. Benitez admits he had a "smile on my face" watching Asier del Horno’s sending-off in Chelsea’s Champions’ League defeat to Barcelona.