Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has hailed Steven Gerrard penning a new contract as his best signing of the close-season.
The 33-year-old midfielder has agreed terms on a new deal at Anfield, believed to run for the next two seasons, having missed just two Premier League games last season.
Rodgers has strengthened his squad significantly with the arrivals of Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure, Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto but the Ulsterman believes his captain’s new contract trumps them all.
“I’m absolutely delighted, as you can imagine,” he told the club’s official website.
“I’ve talked throughout pre-season about wanting to bring other players into the group, but this was one of – if not the – most important signings for us.
“He’s an icon here at the football club – a real iconic figure for players and supporters. Also, importantly, his contribution at this moment in time is very much valued by myself and the staff.”
Gerrard – who also captains England – expressed his excitement at committing his future to his boyhood club after speculation that his contract may not be renewed, also insisting that his strong relationship with Rodgers was key in his decision to sign on.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Brendan as a coach, but also as a guy as well,” he added.
“I’ve loved every minute of working with him since he came through the door and I hope he is here for certainly the next couple of years. I want to work with him more. The relationship is growing and I feel as if he is the man to take this club forward.
“I think everyone knows what it means to me. I’ve been here that long and so to extend, it’s a big day for me and I’m really happy for myself and family. It’s great news.”