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Gerrard influence vital for young Reds

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes that Steven Gerrard now has more responsibility than ever in his role as club captain at Anfield.

• Blog: Reds learned nothing from Swansea draw

Gerrard, 32, is the second-oldest player on Liverpool's books, with only 34-year-old Jamie Carragher born before him.

Rodgers has brought through several young players in his attempt to usher in a new era of long-term achievement at the club. Players such as Raheem Sterling, Suso and Andre Wisdom have all seen plenty of first-team football this season despite still being in their teens, while players such as Joe Allen, Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey are not much older.

While Gerrard's goal-scoring rate has so far fallen short compared to previous seasons, Rodgers insists he has not asked his skipper to take on a more defensive role, but that his importance as a guiding influence for his team-mates is more important than ever.

"I don't think there has been a clear change in his game in terms of what I have asked him to do," he said ahead of his team's trip to face Tottenham on Wednesday night.

"Steven has always been the player who makes the difference over the years and, OK, he may not have had the goals this season that he has wanted but he has still been effective. There has been nothing more or less I have asked in terms of defensive responsibilities.

"He has had to take on more of a mantel because it is a much younger group. In the past he has played in teams with more experience around him and I think that is the biggest change this year.

"There is more responsibility on him to look out for the team because of the youthfulness of the team and he has been brilliant. He is a phenomenal player and a great presence for us."

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