Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is strong enough to cope with any mockery from Chelsea fans during their two-legged Capital One Cup semifinal, according to boss Brendan Rodgers.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said over the weekend that he does not like his side’s fans taunting Gerrard over a crucial slip made last May as the Reds chased a first league title since 1990.

The midfielder’s error allowed Demba Ba to stride through and score the opener as Mourinho’s side won 2-0 at Anfield, a result that effectively took the destiny of the Premier League title out of Liverpool’s hands.

Mourinho also admitted that one of his greatest disappointments in two spells as Chelsea’s manager was failing to sign Gerrard in 2005.

The former England captain was close to moving to Stamford Bridge, having handed in a transfer request six weeks after leading Liverpool to the Champions League title.

Gerrard ultimately decided to stay and sign a new contract at Anfield, where he will remain until leaving for the LA Galaxy when his current deal expires in June.

Rodgers thinks Mourinho’s praise for the 34-year-old is a sign of appreciation for his talent.

The Liverpool boss said: “I think Jose’s talking out of respect for one of the best players this league’s ever seen.

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