Date:3rd January 2015 at 3:02pm
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Brendan Rodgers has defended the club’s handling of the Steven Gerrard contract situation, after the 34-year-old announced he would be leaving the club when his deal expires at the end of the season.

Gerrard is set to move to the United States, and the Reds have received criticism from former players the likes of Jamie Carragher and Phil Thompson for not doing more to keep such an iconic figure at the club.

“When I came in here (in the summer of 2012) I still believed Steven had a lot to offer the team in terms of his performance and working here I see his great influence in the changing room with other players and the great work he does at the club,” said Rodgers.

“But you always have at the back of your mind he will move on and you have to look to bring through the next ones and that has had to be looked at.

“It is near-on impossible to find a direct replacement for someone of that stature and quality but we have to continue with our work and find the top players to come in.

“Steven Gerrard is unique in his play and behaviour so you can’t make a direct replacement but, as we have seen over many years in football, there is always the opportunity for the next one to come in.

“Steven’s statement makes it clear. He certainly knew my feelings on him wanting to be here,” added Rodgers.

“Of course I want him to stay but his role is slightly different and naturally at this level it was going to be tapered a bit.

“He wasn’t ready to move into coaching yet, he still sees himself very much as a player but when that time comes and he retires that is maybe something we can look at then as he is someone who would be brilliant to have as part of the staff here.

“At the moment his concentration is on his football. He said himself he leaves on good terms so anything else said would be wide of the mark.”