Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is keen to continue his career beyond this season and admits he may be forced to move away from Anfield if the club fails to offer him a new deal.
Gerrard, who joined the Liverpool Academy at the age of nine and is approaching 700 appearances in all competitions, is out of contract at his boyhood club at the end of the current campaign.
While the 34-year-old remains a pivotal player having played in all nine Premier League matches for Liverpool this season, he has cast doubt on whether he will remain with the club beyond next summer.
“I can only worry about this season because I’m only contracted until May,” Gerrard said in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“As it stands at the moment, I’m here until the end of the season and want to make the most of it. I certainly won’t be retiring this summer. I will play beyond this season.
Gerrard also came to the defence of controversial striker Mario Balotelli, who has made an indifferent start to life at Liverpool with just two goals in 12 appearances and none in seven Premier League matches following his summer move from AC Milan.
Among those to have questioned the Italian’s credentials is Gerrard’s old friend and team-mate Jamie Carragher, who labelled Balotelli as a “panic” buy following the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona over the summer.
Yet Gerrard said: “You have to respect Jamie’s opinion. He knows football but it’s too early to get on Mario’s back.
“He just needs time to score the goals he needs to prove to people he is worthy of staying here. I am not going to judge him after 10 games. To come in after Suarez was always going to be a big ask and he’s not feeling sorry for himself. He is working hard, doing extra shooting sessions.
“I’ve actually been impressed (with) the way he goes about his work. You hear all kinds of stories and rumours before you meet him, but he does all the work. I like the guy.”