Steven Gerrard to begin contract talks with Liverpool

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Liverpool are set to open contract negotiations with Steven Gerrard this week, according to the Express on Sunday.

The Reds captain's current deal expires at the end of the season and after speculation that the 34-year-old would not be awarded an extension on Merseyside, it seems he will be offered a new contract.

Gerrard will follow in the footsteps of team-mate Daniel Sturridge, who lengthened his time at the club in October. The potential new contract comes just weeks after the former England international said he was prepared to leave the five-time European cup winners in the summer, if he was not offered a new contract.

That statement saw a host of clubs rumoured to be chasing the Reds legend's signature, with Manchester City wanting the midfielder, as well as several MLS outfits. However, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is a massive admirer of the central-midfielder and is keen to keep Gerrard playing for his side.

Different situation

If he is offered a new contract, the former Three Lions captain will likely have to take sizeable pay-drop to carry on playing at Anfield. He has been a world-beater for the Reds and carried them to so much success over the years; most notably to Champions League success in 2005 and a year later in the FA Cup.

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However, Gerrard is now 34 and into his twilight years of a player. Based on his performances, Gerrard is far from the player his once was. We've saw him take a deeper role in the midfield and doesn't impact games like he did when at his best.

Once, he would be everywhere in matches from the first to the final whistle. He had every quality a midfielder would desire - pace, power, shooting ability and hard in the tackle.

Unfortunately, at an older age some of these qualities have faded and in particular, his pace and fitness levels have dropped. He is no longer a world-class player and likely will have to take a pay-cut is he is to remain on Merseyside.

More than capable

However, although Gerrard's abilities have declined, he is by no means finished as a footballer. The Anfield academy graduate was superb last season for the Reds when playing his deeper role, sweeping up opposition counter-attacks well.

Rodgers has selected the Liverpool skipper for every Premier League game this term and has yet to substitute him.

Life without Gerrard

The Anfield veteran may be expanding his time at the club, however, Liverpool have to plan for when he does either leave or retire from football. Jordan Henderson was purchased in 2011 from Sunderland for £16 million and many believe he could become the protege.

The 24-year-old has become a regular in the centre-of-midfield in Rodgers' starting XI and recently was handed the vice-captaincy of the club following the exit of Daniel Agger. After a slow start on Merseyside, the Wearside native has improved of late, but he still needs to do more in the midfield.

Emre Can is another player who could fill Gerrard's boots. The German arrived at the club this summer and looks a beast in the middle of the park. He is blessed with a massive physique and uses that to his advantage when defending and attacking.

The £10 million man is impressive going forward and defending and those attributes are what is needed to succeed Gerrard.

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