‘I don’t think there has been a clear change in his game in terms of what I have asked him to do,’ said Rodgers. ‘What Steven has been over the years is the player who makes the difference. He may not have had the goals this season that he has wanted but he still been effective.

‘There has been nothing more or less I have asked in terms of defensive responsibilities. Of course we want the midfield players to score goals, to get in the box and gamble. When Steven has done that he is fantastic – look at the goal against Manchester united.

‘He has done terrific for us. He has obviously had to take on more of a mantel because this is a much younger group. I think that is the biggest thing this year: there is probably a bit more responsibility on him in relation to looking out more for the team.

Backing his man: Brendan Rodgers says Gerrard is still the man for the big occasionBacking his man: Brendan Rodgers says Gerrard is still the man for the big occasion

‘But he has been brilliant I have got to say. He has been fit, playing games and recovering really well. I am so happy to have someone like that in the group because he is a phenomenal player and a great presence for us. It’s great to have a player of that ability in the group.’

Rodgers will come face-to-face with Gylfi Sigurdsson for the first time tonight since the Icelandic international rejected a move to Liverpool in favour of Tottenham.

Sigurdsson, though, has only made five Premier League starts and would have played significantly more had he gone to Anfield.

‘All we can do is present to players the opportunity to come to a great club like this and give them the idea of what we are hoping to achieve,’ said Rodgers.

Hoping for a better day: Martin Skrtel has not enjoyed his trips to White Hart LaneHoping for a better day: Martin Skrtel has not enjoyed his trips to White Hart Lane

‘Having worked with him before and knowing his strengths, his ability to play in that no10 role, this would have been a good opportunity for him where he evolve.’

Martin Skrtel, meanwhile, is hoping for better fortune. White Hart Lane has been a bogey ground for the Slovakian defender in recent years and last September he received the run-around from Gareth Bale after Kenny Dalglish used the central defender as a right-back.

Skrtel endured a shaky start to the current campaign but has been in much better form recently and he is determined to help Liverpool stretch their unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League to a ninth game.

‘I certainly don’t want to repeat what happened season because it was horrible,’ said Skrtel, reflecting on a 4-0 defeat. ‘I didn’t play in my own position and I ended up getting sent off. The year before I broke my jaw after banging heads with Carra but that is football.

‘I have to forget about these things and look forward. The expectations when you are at Liverpool are always high and that’s still the same. All we are doing is going from game to game and trying to get as many points as we can and hopefully at the end of the season we can be in the top four.’

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