Maxi Rodriguez may not have been a regular in the Liverpool first-team this season, but Kenny Dalglish admits the Argentine is never very far from his thoughts.
The 30-year-old midfielder has netted an impressive ten goals in his last nine starts for the Reds, a record that is making it very difficult for Dalglish to continue omitting the South American from his starting line-up.
"I'm tempted to play Maxi in every game," he told the club's official website. "He has a fantastic recent goalscoring record. He is an intelligent footballer and he must have been some player five years ago when he was in his prime.
"He might be getting a bit towards my age now but he is still a clever player. He knows how to play and he knows how to finish.
"Maxi is someone that you admire. A lot of people can look at him and also learn from him. Maxi and Bellers [Craig Bellamy], along with Carra [Jamie Carragher], are the elder statesmen.
"The way they look after themselves, the way they train and the way they prepare themselves, they are a great example to everybody."
The increased competition for places at Anfield this season has meant that a number of players have perhaps not featured as regularly as they deserve - but Dalglish is adamant that hard work and patience will result in the reward those qualities deserve.
"Maxi's just an intelligent footballer who understands the game on and off the pitch," he added. "The same as everybody should do. The squad is more important than the individual.
"If they are given an opportunity, there's not one of them that won't go on to the pitch and do their best. That's all we can ask for. Maxi epitomises that. He has made a contribution."
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