Returning Gerrard 'outstanding', says Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers praised Steven Gerrard after the Liverpool captain made a goal-scoring return to the starting line-up at Leicester City.

Gerrard only featured from the bench in Saturday's battling 1-0 Premier League win over Stoke City at Anfield and the 34-year-old's patchy form this season has been a matter for debate amid an unresolved contract situation.

But the former England skipper returned to the Liverpool starting line-up in an advanced midfield role at the King Power Stadium, scoring the vital second goal in a 3-1 triumph.

"He was outstanding tonight," Rodgers told LFCTV.

"I think as a manager and a player you can never win. Steven's not 24, he's 34 years of age so I have to manage the game-time carefully so that he has the big impact and he's effective in the game for us.

"He understands that... he plays tonight - he had a breather at the weekend and you could see the freshness in his legs and his running.

"The goal he got, he showed great composure, so it was a very good performance by Steven and a very good team performance."

Rodgers' men were forced to battle back from behind against the Premier League's bottom club following Simon Mignolet's unfortunate own goal.

Adam Lallana fired a 26th-minute equaliser and Gerrard was on target nine minutes into the second half, leaving Jordan Henderson to seal the points after Leicester defender Wes Morgan was sent off in the 63rd minute for a professional foul on Rickie Lambert.

"Leicester only lost once here all season [in the Premier League before Tuesday] and they've played some very good sides at home," Rodgers said.

"For us to come away with a 3-1 [win], we've had to work hard and we've had to dig deep at times.

"I felt that if we defended a little better and a bit higher in the second half we could go on and win the game.

"[In the] second half, we pressed the game better and looked a real threat going forward."

Rodgers was also pleased to identify a change in attitude from his players following their limp 3-1 loss at Crystal Palace in November.

"The players battled really, really well. You have to earn the right to play football," he said.

"I think after Palace we recognised that that's important. The players who are in there at the moment; they're fighting, they're working and they're getting the results.

"Bit by bit, we'll climb our way up the table again."