Ex Liverpool captain Jamie Redknapp believes Steven Gerrard must start the Reds crucial showdown with Manchester United on Sunday.
Gerrard has just returned to fitness after six weeks out with a hamstring injury, and came off the bench during Monday night’s 1-0 win at Swansea.
Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson have formed an effective partnership in the 34-year-old’s absence, but Redknapp has called for Gerrard to be reinstated for a game in which three points would see Liverpool move above their bitter rivals into the top four.
Redknapp told Sky Sports: “I know that on Monday Night Football both Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher said they’d stick with the in-form Joe Allen but, for me, there’s no way you can leave Gerrard out of this one.
“That’s got nothing to do with sentimentality and this being Gerrard’s last game for Liverpool against United. And I’ve got nothing against Joe Allen, who is a player I like and a player who has been playing well.
“But ask every Manchester United player whether they’d rather play against Gerrard or Allen this weekend, and none of them would say Gerrard.
“Just look at Liverpool’s win over Swansea on Monday night. Brendan Rodgers got a lot of praise for the way he changed tactics in that game but Gerrard, when he came on, got hold of the game in a way no one else can do.
“He got on the ball and changed the way Liverpool played. All of a sudden the pace of Liverpool’s passing went up a notch.
“Gerrard is a leader and these are the games when Liverpool need him in their team. It would be a mistake by Rodgers not to start him on Sunday.”