By ESPNSTAR.com staff
Despite a slow start to the season following a return from injury, Gerrard has been in fine form recently, scoring in two straight games when he netted in Liverpool's 3-1 loss against Aston Villa as well as scoring their second goal in their 4-0 win over Aston Villa to end a 17-game goalless drought.
Rodgers was delighted with the contribution of the England captain so far this season and claimed that it's unbelievable that there were criticism directed at Gerrard due to the lack of goals, pointing out his influence in midfield as vital for the side.
"You look at his stats this season and he is right up there as one of the most influential midfielders in the Premier League. He's at the top in chances created, passing, possession; all the important things. I find it incredible he can have had any criticism at all. It is absolutely ridiculous. From seeing him every day working, and seeing him playing in the games, it's incredible." Rodgers said on the Guardian.
"He may not be getting the goals he did five or six years ago but that doesn't stop you influencing the game, and his influence for me - and especially once he was starting to understand what I'm looking for - has been absolutely top class. He has been an inspirational captain for us, he has been a huge figure in the development of this team. We are improving, we are growing, and he has influenced that."
Rodgers believes that Gerrard has more to offer for the club and wants him to stay beyong his current contract, which will expire at the end of the 2013-2014 season.
"Steven is vital to us and I recognise that. I know he has 18 months left on his contract but I would want him to go beyond that for this club and this team. What I would say with Steven is he has a real hunger to succeed. He may be 32 years of age, but he's still got so much left. He applies himself right, he eats well, he recovers well, he works well, he does everything right.
"This is a guy who has led his life right as a football player and that allows you to play well into your 30s. I would want him to stay beyond his current contract and extend it. There is absolutely no question about that. He has played every minute of every league game for us which shows what an incredible figure for us he is."
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez also sang praised of Gerrard, describing playing alongside the England international as a surreal experience.
"It's hard to find words to describe what a great player Steven has been - and continues to be - for the club," Suarez told the club's official website.
"It was only four years ago or so that I was playing on the Playstation and I was always Liverpool and to have him in my team was great. Now I'm playing alongside him - he was a hero."