Rodgers hails Gerrard's importance to Liverpool

The 39-year-old Ulsterman praised the skipper for his displays at Euro 2012 and described him as the "soul of this football club" as he looks to take the Anfield side forward

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has underlined Steven Gerrard’s importance to the club, following the skipper’s return from England duty at Euro 2012.

The 32-year-old was praised for his performances in Poland and Ukraine as he assisted three goals in four matches for the Three Lions.

Rodgers looking to boost attack

And Rodgers believes Gerrard’s impressive form bodes well for Liverpool going into the new campaign, after he dropped in ahead of schedule to see his new boss.

"He’s on his break at the moment, a well-deserved break because I thought he was wonderful in the ­championships, but he wanted to come in for a coffee and a chat," Rodgers told reporters.

"He’s a great role model for this club, a wonderful inspiration on and off the field.

“You can see Liverpool is very much in his heart. He really is the soul of this football club.

“He’s maybe not the loudest on the field, but captains are different. Some are more vocal and some are pure inspiration in terms of their actions and he’s very much that.”

The club's vice-captain, Jamie Carragher, has already returned to pre-season training, and Rodgers was keen to highlight how impressed he was with the 34-year-old centre-back and his knowledge of the game.

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He continued: ""I’ve had a couple of really good football conversations with Jamie already.

“I love his enthusiasm and passion for football. He’s got a good knowledge of the game and is interested, which is the important factor.

“Jamie is like myself in that he will probably sit up until two o’clock on a Sunday morning watching German football, having watched five or six games before that."

After the club finished a lowly eighth in the Premier League last term under former manager Kenny Dalglish, Rodgers has targeted Champions League qualification for the upcoming campaign.

"You can only sell the dream going forward,” he added.

“There’s a lot of nostalgia surrounding this club, but it’s important we recognise this is 2012 and we’re not in the Champions League.

“The top players want to play at that level. Steven Gerrard wants to play at that level, Jamie Carragher, they’re players who have won it.

“In the coming years we’ll strive towards that. If that’s not enough for a player, then they will go, simple as that.”