• Captain needs one goal to reach 100 in the Premier League
• 'He's a remarkable man and captain,' says Brendan Rodgers
Steven Gerrard has his proudest wish, that of leading his country into a World Cup in Brazil, he has his century of England caps and now he is on the verge of another significant milestone in an exemplary career.
Currently on 99 Premier League goals, the Liverpool captain will join the 100 club if he gets on the scoresheet at Newcastle United on Saturday. The possibility of his doing that seems quite high, with Liverpool 6-0 winners at St James' Park last season and games between the clubs quite often high-scoring, though Brendan Rodgers has warned supporters not to expect another landslide.
"We won't go there too many times and win six-nil," the Liverpool manager said. "We were outstanding in the fixture last season and we will be hoping to put in a similar performance."
On the subject of his captain and England's captain, however, Rodgers has no hesitation in reaching for the superlatives. "It's remarkable really," he said. "People talk about what a great captain Steven is and what a great leader but what often gets lost is that he is still a world-class footballer. A great big talent. That England goal summed him up. He broke forward with power and pace and, just when it looked like the ball was getting away from him, supplied a great finish.
"He is probably the best player I have ever worked with, certainly the best I've seen when the tempo in a game is really high. I have been fortunate enough to work with some world-class players at Chelsea and some great technicians at Swansea. He is just exceptional. A remarkable man and a remarkable captain. England should be honoured to have someone like that, on and off the pitch."
Now 33, Gerrard is thought likely to call time on his international career at some point after the World Cup to concentrate on playing for Liverpool for as long as possible. Rodgers is sure he has quite a few years left in him yet.
"He's so professional, the way he looks after himself, I think he's still got a number of seasons to look forward to," he said. "He's a wonderful ambassador for England and for the game. He doesn't say a great deal but, when he does, all the players listen whether they are juniors or seniors. He is at the stage of his career where everybody looks up to him. Jack Wilshere is bound to learn from him and so are all the other boys in the England squad." Had circumstances taken a different turn Rodgers might have been in charge of those boys by now, for he has confirmed that Harry Redknapp did approach him about becoming his assistant when the then Tottenham Hotspur manager thought he was about to be offered the England job.
"I was at Swansea at the time and I would certainly have considered it, because I have total respect for Harry and I would have liked to work with such a talented group of players," he said. "It was only a quick conversation, Harry just took me to one side after a Swansea game. He was very confident about being offered the job, though the rest of the country thought he was going to get it at the time.
"In the end there was no decision to make, and I am happy with the way things turned out, but it was a unique conversation and a great honour for me to be asked."