Morientes: Stevie’s our most important player

Last Saturday Liverpool didn’t have a game. Amongst many Liverpool players on International duty at the time was Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool captain had an interview released at that time in which he made clear that the much-talked-about move to Chelsea was complete "rubbish". Steven expressed frustration that no matter how he answers questions, everything he says is miscontrued one way or another. By saying he was planning to talk about the future in the summer with manager Benitez, it’s assumed that he’s still not committed to the Reds.

There’s no doubt that Liverpool want Steven Gerrard to stay. There’s also no doubt that Steven Gerrard wants to stay as captain of a successful Liverpool team. It’s that word "successful" that may prove to be a stumbling block, but Gerrard is not as ready to leave as some people would have it.

Fernando Morientes – declared fit for tomorrow’s clash with Bolton – has joined the "Gerrard must stay" campaign. Speaking to the official Liverpool FC web-site, Morientes said: "It is so vital that he stays with us. We know that if we do well, he will stay as a Liverpool player and that is what we all want. Gerrard is the most important player in the Liverpool side. It is difficult to imagine a Liverpool without Gerrard."

Liverpool have had another season of transition (a word that has been over-used in recent years at Anfield) and Morientes feels that Gerrard needs to allow more time for Rafael Benitez’s influence to come through: "The next season is vitally important to us and we need Steven to be here. All of the players at Anfield want to do well, not just for themselves but because they know a successful Liverpool team will help ensure that Gerrard stays with the club. If we do well, he stays."

Morientes joined Liverpool from Real Madrid, where he’d dropped down the pecking order due to the signing of ex-Liverpool player Michael Owen. "I speak a great deal with my old team-mates and the interest in how the Spanish players are doing at Liverpool isn’t the only thing they ask about."

No doubt to the delight of parts of the national press, Morientes brought up some Real Madrid interest in Gerrard – from the players: "They are always asking about Gerrard and how good he is. Whenever Liverpool are on television in Spain, players and fans alike can see just how important a player he is. I get calls from people like Raul. He asks about Gerrard every time he telephones me or I telephone him. Like everyone else, he knows that he is a very good player and sees him every week on television."

So to summarise, Morientes says Gerrard is an important player, one who Liverpool must really try and keep, and that even his ex-team-mates are impressed by him. Nowhere in what Morientes said is there anything about Real Madrid making an offer for Gerrard. Let’s see how the words are "interpreted" over the next few days.