• Premier League

Gerrard keen on return to attacking role

ESPN staff
January 8, 2013
Steven Gerrard is looking forward to pushing forward © PA Photos

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes he is getting back to his best after describing his form over the first half of the season as "mixed".

Gerrard, 32, has played every minute of the Premier League campaign for Brendan Rodgers' side so far, helping them climb to eighth place after a slow start. He became only the 10th player to make 600 appearances for Liverpool when he faced Newcastle in November, a few days before winning his 100th England cap in a friendly against Sweden.

But the midfielder, who has scored five goals for his club this season, believes he has yet to reach top gear. And as he prepares for Sunday's Premier League trip to Manchester United, the midfielder feels he is ready to return to the more adventurous style that made his name.

He told the official Liverpool magazine: "I've had mixed experiences this season. I've passed some unbelievable landmarks for club and country, getting to the 600 games mark and winning my 100th cap for England. But with the slow start we made and being where we have been in the league, it's been a bit mixed for me.

"There's my form as well. I've played well in some games but I've been disappointed with myself in others and I'm not happy with my goal tally at the moment. People's opinions, perceptions and the way they judge you change when you get a goal.

"I think my performances are getting closer to where I want them to be. So if I can add goals to those performances, then maybe people will start saying the old Steven Gerrard is back."

Gerrard has often played in a deeper role for Liverpool under Rodgers, a switch made necessary by an early-season thigh injury to Lucas Leiva. But with Lucas fully recovered to resume as a holding midfielder, Gerrard is likely to be given more licence to get forward over the second half of the season.

The Liverpool captain said: "I don't think the manager's asked me to do anything different in terms of the way he wants to me to perform but because of certain injuries, situations that have happened to the team and formations that we've played, I've naturally played a little bit deeper.

"I've maybe gone into protection mode rather than playing the old Steven Gerrard way with the shackles off and going for the jugular.

"When you're one of the experienced players in the team, the team's more important than yourself. Maybe I've sacrificed myself in certain games and tried to protect by playing deeper and be a controller with Joe Allen. But now that Lucas is back, he gives me the licence to get forward a lot more, so I hope I can add some goals to my performances.

"I've got the buzz that the team's improving and it's going to get better. I'm confident that come the end of the season I will be satisfied with myself and the team because I do believe we can finish the season really strong."

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