Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said the blame for Liverpool's rough start in the English Premier League does not fall on captain Steven Gerrard, according to a report from Sky Sports.
The Reds will enter this weekend's match against Stoke City in 12th place with 14 points. The club has won only four of its first 12 matches this season. Last season, Liverpool finished two points behind Manchester City for first place.
Gerrard has recorded two goals and one assist this season. The 34-year-old made his debut for the club's first team in 1998.
Rodgers said he is not choosing Gerrard because of "sentiment" and pointed to his team's defensive issues and lack of solidity, according to the report.
“This is about the team,” Rodgers said, referring to Liverpool’s form.
“Steven has been an outstanding figure for me in my time here and, ok, we’re looking at different areas of his game – he’s not the Steven Gerrard he was 10, 12 years ago – but we’ve seen last year how instrumental he was in our climb towards the top of the table.
“He’s been the lynchpin of this football club; he’s carried this club lots of time on his own for the last 10 years. I think it’s unfair, at this stage of his career, to be looking at him as the reason.
“He’s a big reason as to why we are where we’ve got to over the years. If people are expecting the marauding player from 10 years ago, arguably one of the best players in the history of the Premier League, so fast, so strong, of course those days are gone. But he still has a huge influence on the team.
“It might not be as often – Steven will tell you himself he’s maybe not able to play the three games in a week to the level we’d want – but [Liverpool’s form] is certainly not the fault of Steven Gerrard.”
Liverpool faces Bulgarian club Ludogorets Razgrad in a Champions League match on Wednesday.