Football

'Tinkerman' Benitez ponders Gerrard position switch

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has welcomed the timely return to form of Steven Gerrard but has told his captain not to get too comfortable in his favoured central midfield role.

The England midfielder was dropped back to a more orthodox position against Sunderland on Sunday and responded with an improved personal display in the 3-0 win.

For a long time critics have been urging Benitez to deploy Gerrard in what they feel is his best position but the manager said what was more important was the overall game plan.

"I remember discussions with England about Gerrard and Frank Lampard not being able to play in the middle but they can," said the Reds boss ahead of their Europa League quarter-final trip to play Benfica in Lisbon.

"He can play everywhere because he knows what to do in every position.

"He was keen to do the best for the team and the best for the team the other day was for him to play in this role with Javier Mascherano.

"For me it is not the player and the system but altogether.

"In the last year with the same system we were quite offensive and this year we have scored a lot of goals, especially at Anfield, with the same system.

Benitez said he was still waiting for winger Albert Riera to finalise a proposed loan move to Spartak Moscow.

The Spain international has found himself marginalised from the squad after his "sinking ship" outburst earlier this month and Benitez is keen for the player to be moved on.

"He is still talking. He is talking with Spartak," he added. "He is training sometimes but now we have to wait and now we have games in the week we have to keep the players who are normally involved."

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Topics:
Europa League
Football
Premier League
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool

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