Stevie back to his favourite place

Steven Gerrard is fit and ready for Liverpool’s continued battle for second place, and could well find himself back in his preferred role at the heart of the Reds’ midfield. Momo Sissoko now seems set to be able to return again for Liverpool as his eye injury now looks less serious than at first feared, but Rafa isn’t expecting to see him in action again this season. Bolo Zenden is still out with his own long term injury, meaning that Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Didi Hamann are the only players really available for the role. Gerrard has been sacrificed into playing a wide-right role for much of this season, but now Rafa is looking to move him back to the middle.

Gerrard was forced to miss most of Tuesday night’s Champions League defeat due to a dead leg, but despite rumours it was something more serious, Rafa says his captain is back and ready to go: “Gerrard is fit, is training well and it’s really good news for us. Gerrard is a very important player for us. With Momo Sissoko injured we have different options in Gerrard, Dietmar Hamann and Xabi Alonso. Losing Sissoko means the options for central midfield now involve Gerrard. Xabi Alonso and Dietmar Hamann can play in the middle but maybe it is time to start using someone else on the right side. Momo was working for everyone, a fantastic player with so much energy right across midfield. Gerrard is a different type of player but he has more quality and he can change games. He prefers to play as a centre midfielder and now he will have more options.”

Perhaps Liverpool’s strikers will get more service now so that the
‘crisis’ so many talk of can come to an end: “Steven can change matches
and he can do that better from the centre of the pitch. Now maybe we
need to use him in a role where we can keep possession and he can work
behind the strikers.”

Luis Garcia has struggled with injury this season, rarely getting much
time on the pitch fully fit, but he could well be one to step into
Gerrard’s right-sided boots: “Luis can play in three different
positions but if we need to use Gerrard in the middle then Luis can
play on the right,” said Rafa. Jan Kromkamp is another option for Rafa
as he continues his adaptation to the English game.

A central midfielder for the future for the Reds is Lee Peltier and he
was given a new contract this week. Described by many as having an
excellent season for the Reds reserves, Peltier has been training at
Melwood since last pre-season. The 19-year-old’s new contract runs for
two more seasons after the end of this one.

Joint reserve team boss Hughie McAuley says good things about the
player: “Lee is a good competitor with an eye for a pass and is
progressing well.”

Meanwhile there’s a move out on loan for Lee’s reserves team mate and
fellow Academy graduate Paul Willis. Goalkeeper Willis is 20 next month
but with the arrival of David Martin has seen himself drop down the
pecking order. He’ll spend the rest of the season with Stockport County
to gain league experience. Assuming he’s picked regularly, he could be
kept busy with the League Two side battling relegation.