Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says his side are still dependent on veteran captain Steven Gerrard.
The 32-year-old was brought off the bench during Liverpool’s shock FA Cup exit at the hands of League One side Oldham on Sunday, and hit the bar as the Premier League side fell to a 3-2 defeat.
And, after seeing the skipper’s introduction prompt a much-improved performance, Rodgers has conceded his squad cannot yet cope without Gerrard.
“I’d love to say that we would be alright without him, but unfortunately at this stage I can’t because I don’t believe we would,” Rodgers told reporters.
“Steven Gerrard is a unique player. When he came on at Oldham it was like someone had dropped him from heaven, because we went to a totally different level.
“With each day that goes on you see the real importance he still has to the club. At 32 years of age, he still looks so fit, strong and you can see his influence on the team. As a captain he’s been phenomenal.
“We are under no illusions because the Oldham game made it clear in terms of the depth of the squad the problems we have when we have to change the team around.
“Oldham was a rude awakening, but we knew the situation with the squad.”
The former Swansea manager also expressed eagerness to tie the Gerrard down to a new contract at Anfield.
“Steven and I have spoken a number of times (about a contract), but as yet I don’t believe anything has been done. His feeling the last time we spoke was get through this season and see how that goes.
“His focus is on really helping the group to go forward. There’s no doubt that between now and the end of this season the contract will be looked at.
“The owners can see for themselves, they watch all the games from afar. They understand and I have regular dialogue with them.
“I can only (give) feedback in terms of his qualities both as a player and as a leader of the club, so it’s not like they don’t get to know about it. Between now and the end of the season we will have a clear look at that (a contract) for sure.”
Liverpool visit Arsenal in the English Premier League on Wednesday.