|Thursday 17th June 2004|
REDS FIGHTING TO KEEP GERRARD
Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry has revealed that Steven Gerrard could be about to walk away from the club.
The England midfielder has been linked with a big-money move to Chelsea - but this is the first time Liverpool have confirmed he is considering his future. But Parry hopes the arrival of Rafael Benitez as Anfield manager will persuade Gerrard to stay on Merseyside. "I spoke to him three weeks ago and it was clear he was not happy. He was down and wants success," Parry said.
Benitez was unveiled as Liverpool manager on Wednesday - and one of his first tasks in the new job will be to convince the 24-year-old Gerrard that he can win trophies if he stays at the club. "Hopefully the appointment of Rafa Benitez as our new manager will swing things our way with Stevie," Parry said.
"Realistically, players have to be happy and we can't force anybody to stay at the club against their wishes, but there is no way that we want to sell him and we sincerely hope that he stays." Press reports in recent days have claimed Chelsea want to bring Gerrard to Stamford Bridge for £30m - and are ready to make him the best-paid player in the Premiership. But Parry insisted: "It isn't about money with Stevie. "Medals are more important to him and he told me that he doesn't want to be here at 35 having not won anything. "Finishing fourth in the Premiership is not an achievement in his eyes but we are with him on that."
Parry remains hopeful that the arrival of Benitez - who won a number of trophies at Valencia - as successor to the sacked Gerard Houllier will send the right signals to Gerrard. "The next priority is for me and Rafa to meet and try to persuade Stevie that his future is at this club," Parry added. "We will do everything we can to persuade him that his future lies here, but we are not complacent." Benitez too is well aware of the need to keep the star midfielder.
"Steven is from Liverpool and the club is in his heart," the Spaniard said. "His spirit is here, but I want to tell him how important he is to us."