Liverpool legend Dietmar Hamann has praised the contribution of skipper Steven Gerrard from a deeper role this season.
The former German international is remembered as one of the finest holding midfielders of the Premier League era, and enjoyed tremendous success in that position – often alongside Gerrard – during his Liverpool career.
Gerrard proved he remains a threat going forward with his 11th Premier League goal of the season in the 2-1 win over Sunderland on Wednesday night, but it his defensive performances that have most impressed his former teammate.
“As an attacking player, he was probably the best at what he did for the last 10 or 12 years, and one of the most influential midfielders in Europe.
“There can’t be many more players who have decided the number of games he has with their assists or goals. To go from that role to a more defensive one is not an easy thing to do and it doesn’t happen overnight.
“But his adaptation, and in particular the discipline he shown, has been so impressive. In that role you have to play the same way whether you’re 2-0 up or 2-0 down, and he’s done just that.
“He was so good in his attacking role that you would let him play with freedom and without too much discipline because he would decide games.
“The way he has changed his game this season has been majorly impressive, and he’s again been a vital part of the team. Not only does he spot danger very early, but he also wins the ball back, and we all know how good his passing ability is.”
Gerrard is now in his 16th season as a Liverpool player, and Hamann believes the new role will allow the 33-year-old to prolong his illustrious Reds career.
“I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a new Steven Gerrard we’re seeing, but certainly a different one,” said the former German international. “And after seeing the way he has performed this season, I think he can fulfil this role for some years to come.
“He and the manager have obviously discussed the change in role and agreed that if he wants to prolong his career this is the way to do it.”