Manuel Pellegrini’s praise of Steven Gerrard this weekend has sent the Rumour Mill into overdrive, with newspapers diving head first into ‘Gerrard to Man City‘ stories.
Gerrard's existing contract with the Reds ends in June but Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers remains confident the 34-year-old will stay on at Anfield beyond the end of the current season.
City have already demonstrated their willingness to put their trust in veteran players this season with the short-term loan signing of another former England midfielder, 36-year-old Frank Lampard, and Blues boss Pellegrini believes Gerrard still has plenty to offer in the years ahead.
Pellegrini told several national newspapers: "I don't ever rate players on their age. It depends on the money they cost and the number of years they have (on their contract).
"But, like Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard is a top player and he can continue at a high level for a couple more years."
Of course, it’s impossible for a manager of another club to heap praise on a rivals’ player without a wave of transfer hype being built up.
The Daily Mail jump on the bandwagon with ‘Steven Gerrard targeted by Man City‘, whilst the Independent go with ‘I want Steven Gerrard if he leaves Liverpool, says Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini’.
Rodgers was asked about Gerrard's future following the 1-0 defeat at Newcastle on Saturday.
He said: 'It's quite straightforward. I had a meeting with Steven's representative explaining the situation. I very much want him to be a part of what we are doing here.
"He's been a brilliant captain for me. I relayed that to the ownership. I'm sure he will go away with that and hopefully his representative will organise a deal.
"Steven is very much part of what I'm doing here. He's a unique player, a unique talent."
Gerrard made his senior debut for Liverpool in November 1998 having first been spotted by the club as a nine-year-old playing for local side Whiston Juniors.
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