Paul Ince feels Steven Gerrard deal should be Liverpool's top priority

Anfield

Former Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince feels Brendan Rodgers should be making a contract extension for Steven Gerrard his top priority.

The fact that Liverpool have allowed Steven Gerrard to run well into the final year of his current contract has come as a surprise to many.

The Anfield skipper is a Reds icon, a one-club man who has never given anything less than 100 per cent to the collective cause.

The general consensus appears to be that he deserves to be treated with greater respect and that the issue of his future should have been addressed long before now.

Why leave Gerrard contemplating what his next move will be and offer rivals the merest sniff of securing his signature?

He may be 34 years of age, but he remains a top-class Premier League performer on his day and capable of producing talismanic performances when the mood takes him.

Gerrard was still England captain less than six months ago, with another World Cup finals appearance taking his international caps tally to 114.

Former Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince is amazed to find that Brendan Rodgers has not yet tied his on-field leader to fresh terms, with it the opinion of another ex-captain of his country that talks should be a top priority for the men on Merseyside – rather than looking towards the January transfer window.

He told the Mail on Sunday: “For me, Stevie G should be the first name on the Liverpool team sheet.

“It is sad his contract situation has been allowed to fester. You shouldn’t give anyone a contract out of sentiment but look at what he’s still doing for the club. He’s only 34 and the team struggled against Sunderland without him.”

Liverpool have expressed a desire to sit down with Gerrard and his representatives, but they may live to regret leaving discussions so long.

An emotional pull should work in their favour, as Gerrard has found it difficult to sever ties in the past.

This could be the last crossroads in his career, though, and big decisions from all sides are about to be made.

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