Gerrard still key for Liverpool, says Rodgers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has reiterated Steven Gerrard's importance to Liverpool despite his diminished game time this season.

The 34-year-old has been a talismanic captain for the Anfield club, famously helping Liverpool to UEFA Champions League and FA Cup successes during his time as skipper.

However, as the former England international approaches the final years of his career, Rodgers has often opted to use Gerrard off the bench.

Gerrard's current contract expires at the end of the season, with Rodgers confirming early in December that Liverpool had offered the midfielder a new deal.

While no agreement has yet been reached between player and club, Rodgers remains unequivocal about Gerrard's importance to the team. 

"He's a wonderful player and wonderful servant to this football club and in particular in my time here he's been brilliant for me," the Northern Irishman said on Wednesday.

"I've just got to manage his game. When I came in here two and a half years ago, everyone was talking about whether he can play in my type of football and were his legs gone?

"You've seen him over the last couple of years, arguably he could be the player of the year for last year. So he's a player that I'm just managing his game-time." 

Rodgers has always said that his decisions on whether to select Gerrard are based on fitness and keeping things fresh, with the Liverpool skipper rested for Monday''s 4-1 win over Swansea City at Anfield.

However, Gerrard is set to return to action against Leicester City on Thursday.

"I understand, it's my situation of picking the best team and making it fresh as often as we possibly can," Rodgers added.

"He missed out the other night, but he'll definitely play [on Thursday]."