Steven Gerrard has vowed to carry on operating as an attacking midfielder for Liverpool this season.
Gerrard, 32, worked well in a more defensive role for England during Euro 2012 but insists he still has the energy and power to drive forward and dismissed any notion that he should consider dropping back in the manner of Paul Scholes at Manchester United.
Instead, he wants to continue making the attacking runs from midfield that have been a key part of his game – and Liverpool’s – since he broke into the team in 1998 and said he was ready to do that for new boss Brendan Rodgers when Liverpool start their Premier League season at West Brom on Saturday.
“The manager has spoken to me about what role he sees me filling and I still think he sees me as an attacking midfielder,” Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo.
“As we work through the ages, maybe 33 or 34, then maybe I might be dropping a bit deeper, but I don’t think anything is going to change in my game this season. I still think I can play a dynamic energy-type game. I’m prepared to adapt, and I’ll do whatever the manager wants, but I can still play the same way.”
Gerrard has missed a large chunk of games over the last two seasons due to groin and ankle problems but said injuries are not slowing him down.
“I had major surgery on my groin and I had a big operation on my ankle through bad luck, but they’re gone,” he said. “My groins now are better than they were from the age of 21 to 30. I think people want me to say I can’t play the same way any more, that I have to go deeper and play a slower game but, believe me, it’s not happening – not yet.”
Gerrard has gone to Darren Burgess, Liverpool’s head of fitness and conditioning, to get the data he feels proves he is in the best possible shape for the new season.
He added: “I’ve got Darren Burgess and the other staff who collect figures every day. They measure my heart-rate, the amount of running you do, high tempo, low tempo.
“They haven’t come to me yet and said: ‘Listen, I don’t think you can play the way you’ve been playing for the last 10 years.’ They will do that one day. They’ll come to me and say: ‘You might need to adapt your game.’ But it hasn’t come to that yet.
“I know I’m not going to be bombing forward every few seconds without a care of what’s happening behind me. Of course I have to play with my brain and pick the right time to go. I appreciate I’m no spring chicken, but I don’t think I have to say I’m ready to play a different position.
“I’ll play the Scholes role when I feel it’s time. I can play that role no problem. I played it when I was 21, but it’s not time yet.”