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Nov 29, 2012

Rodgers: Reds must ease Gerrard burden

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists that the club have to do more to ease the burden on skipper Steven Gerrard.

Blog: Reds must master chess-boxing

Gerrard, 32, has scored just once in 14 games this season - a far cry from previous seasons where he has regularly hit double figures. However, as the attacking midfielder gets older, Rodgers wants his club team-mates to take over the responsibilities on the pitch.

"Steven was outstanding last night [a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham on Wednesday]. He's carried this club for nearly 13 years and it's about time that there was more than Steven picking up the baton of responsibility," he told reporters.

"He's been brilliant since I arrived here. His inspiration and leadership within the team has been phenomenal. He might not have got the goals that he wanted this season, but you saw him last night - his range of passing, commitment and drive into the box was superb. "He has been judged on his goals because he's been a goalscoring midfielder over the years, but he's still offering this group so much on and off the field.

"There are others that we want to step up to the plate and get the goals. Across the board we want to improve and find the solutions."

Meanwhile, Rodgers has defended his tactical 'tinkering' - a situation he believes has been forced upon him because of a lack of squad depth.

"We are just trying to find, because of the shallowness of the group, different solutions which allow us to attack and defend well," said Rodgers.

Rodgers has been criticised for using winger Stewart Downing as a left-back, with defender Jose Enrique used further up the pitch. But the Northern Irishman hit back over the claims that he is trying to incorporate square pegs into round holes.

"That is the pure, simple reason behind looking at players in different positions [to attack and defend well]," he added. "Jose now looks a different player. He has got his confidence back, which is important, and he gives us that drive and power at the top end of the field.

"I would never put a player in a position where it doesn't benefit the team and that he doesn't want to play in because there is no reward for that. He [Downing] is comfortable playing there and it means Enrique doesn't have to cover the whole pitch."

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