Steven Gerrard set for Liverpool milestone against Bolton – but new Anfield era already beginning

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By David Anderson

The Reds captain will make his 700th appearance tonight, alongside Phillippe Coutinho who has pledged his long-term future to the Merseyside outfit

Steven Gerrard is set to play his 700th Liverpool game tonight – but how many more starts will he make?

Brendan Rodgers is using him more sparingly as the new Liverpool slowly begins to emerge from his huge shadow.

With the end of the Gerrard era in sight, Rodgers sees the likes of Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho as central to his vision for Liverpool’s future.

Gerrard will still be in the starting line-up for the big games. He has recovered from a tight hamstring and continues his long goodbye in tonight’s FA Cup replay against Bolton.

He will have a central role in the Merseyside derby at the weekend but is likely to find himself rested for an increasing number of games.

Rodgers says: “Seven hundred is an incredible achievement and not sure will ever happen again at this club.

“The professionalism isn’t just about the games, he has devoted every day to his football.

“He lives his life for it and is unique – a boy who lives a few miles around the corner and who has been coming here all his life.”

But the new era is quietly being ushered in and that is why the Reds boss is so pleased Coutinho yesterday signed a new contract, tying the Brazilian playmaker to Anfield until 2020.

“I’m delighted that Philippe has committed his long-term future to us; he is clearly going to be a big part of our story in the years to come,” said Rodgers.

“The most exciting thing isn’t just how good he is now, it’s the further improvement he can make in his game. In terms of potential, he can still become even better.

“He deserves all the credit in the world for the attitude he has shown since coming to Liverpool.

“He arrived as a young man, in a country he’d never lived in before and joined a club where expectations are high. He has shown a willingness to listen, learn and improve.

“It is my hope now that he continues with his improvement and development and becomes a figurehead for this exciting, vibrant, youthful squad of players, as we look to grow as a group and achieve success together.”

Coutinho was back to his dazzling best against West Ham and is excited about being part of Liverpool’s future.

“I’ve committed my future to the club and for this I’m feeling very pleased,” said Coutinho, who joined Liverpool from Inter Milan two years ago.

“It means so much. This club has given me the opportunity to play and believed in me even though I hadn’t been playing regularly at my previous club.

“I’ve had a great reception since my first day here. As I always say, Liverpool is a big family and I’m a happy person here.”

 

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