STEVEN GERRARD believes the return to action of Lucas Leiva has helped him get back to his rampaging best for Liverpool FC.
The Reds skipper admits he enjoyed a ‘mixed’ first half of the season after playing in a deeper midfield role for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
However, since Lucas made his comeback from a thigh strain early last month, Gerrard’s form has picked up and he was outstanding in the recent 3-0 league win over Sunderland.
Gerrard, who has netted three goals in his past five matches after nearly three months without finding the net, is the only Liverpool player to have played every minute of every Premier League game so far this season.
“With the slow start we made and being where we have in the league it’s been a bit mixed for me,” he said.
“I’ve played well in some games but I’ve been disappointed with myself in others and I’m not happy with my goal tally.
“I don’t think the manager’s asked me to do anything different in terms of the way he wants to me to perform but because of certain injuries, situations that have happened to the team and formations that we’ve played, I’ve naturally played a little bit deeper.
“I’ve maybe gone into protection mode rather than playing the old Steven Gerrard way with the shackles off and going for the jugular.
“When you’re one of the experienced players in the team, the team’s more important than yourself and maybe I’ve sacrificed myself in certain games and tried to protect by playing deeper and be a controller with Joe (Allen).