LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers braced supporters for a close-season rebuilding process after long-serving captain Steven Gerrard played his final home game for the club.
Gerrard, 34, declared himself “devastated” following Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace at a sold-out Anfield and must now prepare for his last ever Liverpool appearance at Stoke City next weekend.
Gerrard’s departure echoes that of his fellow stalwart Jamie Carragher, who bowed out in 2013, and with Luis Suarez still to be satisfactorily replaced following his move to Barcelona last year, Rodgers knows there is a pressing need to bolster his squad.
Asked if it would be possible to replace Gerrard—who joins the Los Angeles Galaxy in July—with one player, Rodgers told his post-match press conference: “I dont think there is that.
“He is a player and a person who is irreplaceable for the club. What he’s given over his time here and the standards he’s set are second to none.
“We’ll go forward at the end of the season and we’ll have to plot a way to improve in the summer. That’s our challenge.”
Having pushed Manchester City all the way in last season’s title race, Liverpool have slipped back in 2014-15 and are yet to secure even the consolation of a Europa League place after missing out on a Champions League berth.
But asked if he felt optimistic about the future, Rodgers replied: “We have to (be).
“In my time here, we’ve lost a couple of players with 700-odd games for the club in Jamie Carragher (737) and Steven Gerrard (709).