Steven Gerrard: Liverpool must improve without him - Rodgers

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard could not inspire Liverpool to victory after coming off the bench against Sunderland

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has warned his players they must step up when captain Steven Gerrard is absent.

The 34-year-old former England captain was left on the bench for the second consecutive home game in a frustrating goalless draw against Sunderland.

He was introduced in the 67th-minute but could not inspire his side to victory at Anfield.

"We can't always rely on him. It can't be up to him every single game to be the catalyst." Rodgers said.

"His talent is world class but that contribution has to come around the team."

Gerrard was left out of the starting XI ahead of Liverpool's must-win Champions League match at home to Basel on Tuesday, with a trip to Manchester United to follow next Saturday.

The former England captain was also among the substitutes for the 1-0 win against Stoke.

He has been offered a new contract, with his current Liverpool deal expiring at the end of the season.

Rodgers has played-down talk of a rift between himself and Gerrard and voiced his disappointment at other players failing to fill the void.

"It is very hard to replace that quality, but that is something we will need," he said.

"He was excellent when he came on and of course he plays on Tuesday. He still has that talent, he has world-class ability and it is me looking to manage that."

"We have a big month ahead. Until the new year there are big games and the management of Steven is fine, there is no problem with that."

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