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Former Liverpool Manager Rafa Benitez Reveals Two Transfers That 'Changed' Steven Gerrard

Chris Stonadge

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Former Liverpool Manager Rafa Benitez Reveals Two Transfers That 'Changed' Steven Gerrard

Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has named the two players that influenced Steven Gerrard the most in his time at the club.

Benitez was in charge at Anfield from 2004 to 2010, winning the Champions League and FA Cup in his tenure.

Gerrard was Benitez’s captain and talisman in those five years, and played arguably his best football in this time.

He won the Football Writers Player of the Year in 2009 as Liverpool finished second.

And it was two signings later in Benitez’s reign that he believes unlocked Gerrard, allowing him to flourish in his role at Liverpool.

Fernando Torres is the obvious one. The Spaniard struck a chord with Gerrard as soon as he walked through the doors at Melwood in 2007, and the pair became one of the most feared duos in the Premier League.

Months previous, the Reds loaned in a young Javier Mascherano from West Ham United, a move that would eventually become permanent.

This transfer, Benitez says, allowed Gerrard to have a more advanced role in the side which was so effective next to Torres.

He told The Coaches' Voice: "If we go to my time at Liverpool, some people remember the names of key names from the beginning to end at Liverpool."

"One of the key decisions was when we signed Torres, we moved Gerrard behind Torres because we could sign Mascherano, Lucas Leiva, and Alonso."

"The balance, the freedom for Gerrard to attack and get into the box and the runs of Torres. We had Kuyt working hard and wingers depending on the year."

"But the main thing was freedom for Gerrard behind the striker, Torres up front who could run in behind defenders."

"Then two midfielders that could pass like Alonso or retain the ball like Mascherano."

"We signed Lucas Leiva when he was 19 and he was 10 years at Liverpool so they give you balance."

The two players subsequently left in 2010 and 2011 - with Mascherano joining Barcelona and Torres heading to Chelsea six months later.

Their importance was showcased by the downfall of the Reds as a whole, as their exodus preceded a forgettable period in Liverpool’s history.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Liverpool, Rafa Benitez, Steven Gerrard

Chris Stonadge
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