Liverpool's Steven Gerrard could play deeper - Brendan Rodgers

Steven Gerrard could continue in a deeper midfield role for Liverpool, according to manager Brendan Rodgers.

The 33-year-old captain, who usually features as an attacking midfielder, played further back in Sunday's 5-3 Premier League win at Stoke.

"He has got the personality to play in that controlling role," said Rodgers.

"He gives us great variety in his passing. We saw today he picked it up from deep and stretched the game with his vision and quality."

Asked whether England captain Gerrard would continue play in that position, Rodgers said: "It is something I will look at. He's someone who fits the profile of that role. He does it a bit more with England.

"I have spoken to him a lot about it and it was just about timing. We saw today that he played really well. Steven showed great leadership as well."

Rodgers added he would still like to strengthen his squad but added he would only do that if the "right quality is there".

In a thrilling match at the Britannia Stadium, Liverpool took a 2-0 lead courtesy of Ryan Shawcross's own goal and a Luis Suarez strike, before Stoke hit back through Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam before the break.

Gerrard scored from the penalty spot to restore the advantage before substitute Daniel Sturridge, making his first appearance since 23 November because of injury, provided the pass for Suarez's second - the Uruguayan's 22nd of the season.

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Jon Walters responded again for Stoke but Sturridge's late strike secured Liverpool's fourth away league win of the season.

Rodgers was delighted to see Sturridge score on his return and praised both his "movement" and his partnership with Suarez, which has now yielded 34 goals this season.

"Both of them are outstanding players," he added.

Victory lifted Liverpool to within five points of leaders Manchester City, who have 47 points, and Rodgers is confident his team can "challenge" for their first league title since 1990.

"We entered the game today with nine home and nine away left," he said.

"Seven of the away games are against teams in the bottom half. They are not 'gimmes' by any means, but we have shown enough over the season to show that we are going to be challenging."