Brendan Rodgers reiterated his respect for Steven Gerrard at his press conference at Melwood on Saturday morning in a week in which the Liverpool captain announced he will leave the club at the end of the season.
Video: YouTube user nhlsarok
The Reds manager was previewing Monday’s FA Cup third round tie against AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow, but as expected the journalist’s questions were focused on Gerrard
The 34-year-old will leave Liverpool at the end of the season, with a move to the MLS in the United States confirmed on Saturday morning.
“I’ve been in conversations with Steven about it for quite a while,” Rodgers told the media. “Once he had made final decision he wanted me to know first.
“He could have let it run through until the end of the season and not said anything, but he’s a special kind of character and had the club’s and the fans’ best interests at heart.
“If he had his way there’d be no more said about it.”
26-minute press conference at Melwood. The word 'Wimbledon' not mentioned once. #LFC
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) January 3, 2015
“We nearly won the league last year because of Gerrard. He captained this team on an incredible run and was a monumental influence for us.
“It’s nearly impossible to find a direct replacement — someone of that stature and quality. For us it’s about finding the next youngster from the best local talent. There is a lot of great work going on at our Academy.”
Liverpool take on AFC Wimbledon on Monday 5 January. Kick-off is 7.55pm and it’s live on BBC One in the UK.