Steven Gerrard is his own worst critic but will not allow the disappointment of Liverpool's title slip to affect his World Cup, according to Brendan Rodgers. The Liverpool manager believes England's captain should have greater confidence in Brazil following the closest title challenge of his career.
The 33-year-old admitted he was "absolutely devastated" to miss out on a first Premier League winner's medal having helped guide Liverpool to a six-point lead over Manchester City with three matches to go. Opposition supporters have taunted Gerrard for his mis-control and slip against Chelsea, when Demba Ba raced through to open the scoring at Anfield, and his body language after the final game of the season against Newcastle United spoke of anguish at an otherwise resurgent campaign.
Gerrard has been "very hard on himself", says Rodgers, but the Liverpool manager does not believe England's World Cup campaign will be hindered by introspection from the midfielder. He has reiterated that porous defending cost Liverpool the Premier League crown, not individual error.
"I have no concerns whatsoever," said Rodgers, who has made Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand his top left-back target for the summer and is interested in Southampton's central defender Dejan Lovren and Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri. He is also an admirer of Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony. "I think Steven will go away and reflect on what has been personally a brilliant season of football.
"He has been very unfairly pointed out in terms of his slip. It could have happened in the third game, it could have happened in the fourth game but it certainly wasn't anywhere near the defining moment of our season. That wasn't what cost us the league. It was more games when we won. When we won 5-3 at Stoke when we conceded, when we won 6-3 at Cardiff, when we won 4-3 at home against Swansea, another three conceded. It was those games, not Steven's slip or Kolo's misplaced pass [Touré at West Bromwich Albion].
"He is a very conscientious boy, he loves Liverpool and he is very hard on himself. Steven is his own worst critic but he will go away recognising that he has been involved in a real title run-in and next season he will be better for it and we will be a better squad for it. We will be ready to fight again and he will play a pivotal part in it. He will take that confidence into the World Cup."
The World Cup could prove to be Gerrard's final tournament with England, although no decision has been made on his international future, and Rodgers is convinced his captain will forget his disappointment at club level once Roy Hodgson's squad convene.
He added: "I always say to players 'when you go to England don't think of Liverpool. Think about your country and the team you are playing for'. One of his qualities is that he can do that. He is a model professional at that, he is very proud to play for England and captain his country, and I am sure he will go and do the country proud again."