Chelsea's handling of Frank Lampard during his final seasons at Stamford Bridge is the template Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers should be following with Steven Gerrard, according to ex-Blue Jason Cundy.
Former Chelsea defender Jason Cundy believes Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers should learn from Jose Mourinho’s management of Frank Lampard in handling Steven Gerrard.
After impressing in a deeper role last season, Gerrard’s performances have come under increasing criticism so far this term, with some pinpointing the team’s slow start to the campaign on his perceived waning influence.
Now aged 34, Cundy claims the Red captain no longer has the legs to fill such a position and should be given regular rests for less meaningful games, just as now-Manchester City loan star Lampard was during his final few seasons at Stamford Bridge.
“His legs have gone, and he can’t compete in the middle of the park,” the wrote in his column for IBTimes UK.
“If Rodgers is to wring any more match-winning performances from Gerrard, he has to start using him a bit more sparingly and use the example of Frank Lampard as the template.
“The fact that Lampard is still playing in the Champions League, and producing the sort of performance he put in against Bayern Munich, is testament to the way he was managed by Chelsea during his last few years at Stamford Bridge.
“Chelsea realised Frank couldn't play three games a week; they rested him for the lesser games and saved him for when it really mattered.
“Liverpool, by contrast, are whipping Gerrard at the moment. They need to start picking and choosing his games. Would he more effective against Crystal Palace or Ludogorets? He shouldn't be asked to play in both. The guy deserves a break.”
Cundy also contends that Rodgers could help the matter if he used Gerrard in a more advanced role, just as was the case in the 2-2 Champions League draw at Luodogrets Razgrad, where his slick passing could be most effective.
“I'd also change Gerrard's role. I'd use him as a number 10, with no defensive responsibilities at all,” he added.
“Rodgers could stick Lucas and Emre Can in there, to do his running for him, and protect the space he leaves behind him. That way you could get the best out of Gerrard: vision, long-range shooting, and that priceless ability to play the final ball.”