Captain admits he must pick and choose best time to make attacking runs
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has no intention of quelling his trademark attacking instincts just yet despite envisaging a future as a holding midfielder.
Gerrard admits he has been compelled to adapt his all-action game as he moves into the veteran stage of his career.
However, the 33-year-old is being given extra leeway to attack by the 3-4-1-2 formation employed by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in recent weeks.
Gerrard demonstrated he still possesses an eye for a goal when his lung-busting charge into the penalty area helped secure England’s decisive World Cup qualifying win over Poland last week.
And while accepting such runs may not be as frequent, the midfielder plans on still terrorising opposing defences from deep for the foreseeable future.
“With the formation we are using at Liverpool, I can get forward slightly more knowing that I have got three defenders behind me,” said Gerrard.
“In general, whether the system changed or not, I have spoken to Brendan and he wants me to pick and choose my runs.
“I’ll honestly and openly admit I’m not 21 anymore and I haven’t got those energy levels where I can go forward every single time.
“With experience, I hope I can pick the right times for those bursts.
“But I’m not going to become an out-and-out holding midfielder just yet.
“With the goal against Poland, I saw the opportunity late on and still had the energy to burst into the box and managed to get a toe on to it and settle everybody’s nerves.
“Hopefully I have a few more of those in the locker before I become an out-and-out holding midfielder.”
Gerrard unwittingly found himself at the centre of a debate earlier this week after being described by Sir Alex Ferguson as “not a top, top player” despite the former Manchester United manager declaring it would have been a “dream” to sign the midfielder.
Having watched his team-mate net the 100th Premier League goal of his career in the 2-2 draw at Newcastle United last week, Jordan Henderson declared Gerrard had “10 years left in him”.
The Liverpool captain laughed off such a notion but added: “Slowly with time I will adapt my game and maybe become a controlling midfielder.
“Certainly, for the remainder of this season I am still going to try and pick my runs to get forward into the box.”
Asked about reaching the veteran stage, Gerrard responded: “You lot started about three years ago! As soon as you hit 30, everybody starts calling you a veteran.
“But to be honest, I don’t think about it. I just always go out there and try my best and see where that takes me.”
Gerrard will look to help Liverpool keep pace with Premier League leaders Arsenal with home victory over West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.
Rodgers’ side visit the Emirates on Saturday week, with Philippe Coutinho expected to be available after this week returning to training having been absent for more than a month following shoulder surgery.
Glen Johnson made his own return from more than six weeks out at Newcastle last weekend, and Gerrard believes the squad is being strengthened at exactly the right time.
“He gave us 80 brilliant minutes at Newcastle after being out for so long,” said the captain. “I think he only had two or three training sessions.
“For me, the exciting thing at the moment is we are in a great position in the league and we are a couple of weeks away from having everybody fully fit.
“Philippe is not too far away and everybody knows how good he is. When he gets back up to speed we are going to have some squad with everybody fighting for places, which is a positive.”