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Anfield, England

Attendance: 44803

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  • Luis Suárez 67'

1 - 1


Newcastle United

  • Yohan Cabaye 43'

Rodgers hails `modern great' Gerrard

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will make his 600th appearance for his boyhood club on Sunday with manager Brendan Rodgers hailing the midfielder as a genuine modern-day great.

The 32-year-old made his debut in November 1988 and has long since been established as one of the Reds' greatest players.

When he leads out the side at Anfield against Newcastle he will become only the 10th player to have clocked up 600 matches for the club.

Despite criticism in the past about Gerrard not performing in an England shirt Rodgers believes now is the time to start truly appreciating the inspirational midfielder.

``Players of that ilk come around very rarely,'' said the Northern Irishman.

``I think he is a player that supporters should really make the most of the years he has left.

``He still has a number of years left, don't get me wrong, but this guy has quality.

``You saw him the other night when we were playing Swansea and the game was flat in the first half.

``He dons his Superman cape, comes on and changes the whole dynamic of the game.

``That is what great players do and this is one of the modern greats of the game.

``What is even more of a pleasure to see is how he devotes his life to it.

``He is 32 and he wants to learn. We are looking at videos of his game to improve him and that has to come from him.

``He is not settling on everything he has had in his career, he is wanting to improve and he is an incredible talent who is a real pleasure to work with.

``I've said it before and I'll say it again, he's an iconic figure for this football club.''

While Rodgers waxed lyrical about one of the club's all-time greats, he also reserved praise for a player he feels has not got the credit he has deserved over the last year.

Glen Johnson, currently battling a hamstring niggle to be fit to face the Magpies, has over the last 12 months been switched from the right of defence to the left, returned and then moved back again.

Rodgers feels that has hidden the influence he has had, particularly this season.

``Glen has arguably been the player of the Premier League, never mind Liverpool,'' said the Reds boss.

``He has been absolutely outstanding when you consider he has played a lot of the season at left-back.

``He is a world-class full-back and when you miss a player of that quality it does weaken you as a team, of course.

``I look at him and (Barcelona's) Dani Alves as the two best right-backs in world football.

``I don't know how he has been beforehand but he is absolutely fantastic.

``He has shown he is a top player and I've been very impressed with Glen - his attitude to training and the game and the fact he's had to fill in at left-back because of Jose Enrique's injury this year.''

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has warned his side not to be overcome by the intimidating atmosphere at Anfield as they go in search of their first win over Liverpool on Merseyside in more than 18 years.

Liverpool very much have the upper hand over Newcastle on their home turf, where the Magpies are without a league win against the Reds since 1994.

It was in that year Andy Cole and Rob Lee both scored to earn Newcastle a 2-0 victory, with visits to Anfield since then proving to be anything but fruitful for the north east club, with 15 defeats and one draw to show for their efforts.

Last season, Liverpool beat Pardew's side 3-1 in the same fixture, with two goals for Craig Bellamy and one from Steven Gerrard doing the damage.

Pardew hopes his team will have learnt from that experience and use it to their advantage to end their Anfield losing streak.

``This particular side has only been there once. We're taking back more or less the side that played there last year so that will stand them in good stead,'' Pardew said.

``It's a fixture that you can get wrapped up in a little bit. It's such an emotional start, the way they build that game up, and you can get lost in that period.

``Sometimes teams are beat before they get there so hopefully we will get over that this time.

``Anfield is one of those places where that does happen. The build up is fantastic and if you're a football fan you have to go there to witness it.

``St James' Park can also create an atmosphere where you can freeze. You just have to hope it doesn't happen to your team.''

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