Kevin Kilbane says Steven Gerrard would help Brendan Rodgers if he was at Liverpool

The 35-year-old would help Liverpool head in the right direction, and would still be there if the club had offered a contract earlier.

Former Everton and Republic of Ireland star Kevin Kilbane has given his opinion on Liverpool's stuttering performances, speaking on BBC's Football Focus ahead of their Saturday match with Aston Villa.

The 38-year-old played for the Toffees for three years, and thought his old club's rivals would look a lot better if manager Brendan Rodgers had managed to keep Reds hero Steven Gerrard at the club this summer.

"If there was one player that could help Brendan Rodgers in the Liverpool dressing room, it’s Steven Gerrard," Kilbane is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.

"He should still be at the club. If they had sent out the right message and offered him a contract early, he’d still be there now."

Liverpool went on to end a run of four league matches without a win against Villa, but only just, as they edged the contest 3-2 in what was a repeat of last year's FA Cup Semi-Final.

Liverpool fans were devastated to see the legend depart Anfield this summer after seventeen years in the Reds first team.

Gerrard's ability to perform in the Premier League was proven in his final few games at his boyhood club, as the midfielder scored three times in the last four fixtures.

But as much as his playing contribution on the pitch would have been of benefit to a Liverpool side without Jordan Henderson for several weeks after a foot injury, it is Gerrard's contribution to work rate, teamwork and professionalism, cultivated in the Liverpool academy, that would be of use to Rodgers as he looks to build a new group capable of challenging for trophies.

Of course, Gerrard decided to depart the Reds before he slipped away from importance at the club, so it may have been impossible to have seen the former England captain remain at Anfield as he edged closer to retirement, playing fewer and fewer games and instead preparing for his move into coaching. But Kilbane's observations certainly remind us that it is one thing replacing an outstanding player at your football club, and it is quite another to see a character like Steven Gerrard, with all his influence and insight, depart.

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