Liverpool FC's Steven Gerrard planning to extend Anfield career
STEVEN GERRARD has revealed he has never been happier in his career than he is at the moment - and wants to prolong his Liverpool career.
The club captain has previously been on the verge of going elsewhere to fulfil ambitions, but is determined to remain at Anfield well into his 30s.
Liverpool are still in the race for the Premier League title, closing the gap on leaders Manchester United to just one point after scoring nine goals in successive wins against the defending champions and Aston Villa.
Gerrard scored four times in those victories to ensure a career-best League total of 13 as he spearheads another chase for honours.
He said: "I've never been happier than I am at the moment throughout my career. I'm playing in a top team, I'm playing with world-class players and I believe in the manager that, going forward, we can be successful. It is important. I do want to be successful. I'm really happy at the club at the moment.
"I've got two years left on my contract and if there was a chance to extend that, I'm sure I'd do it."
With manager Rafael Benitez sealing a deal to keep him at the club for five more years last week, Gerrard admits their relationship is getting stronger.
The 28-year-old has had cause for complaint in past seasons when he has been asked to operate in wider or deeper areas.
And although he is revelling in his current role just behind Fernando Torres, he now accepts his previous outlook to where he was being played was "selfish".
"My relationship with Rafa has got stronger and stronger as time's gone by," Gerrard added. "Maybe when I was a bit younger I was a bit selfish. Thinking of myself a bit too much when he was playing me out of position.
"I should have maybe taken a deep breath and realised it was for the team. But, at the moment, he's playing me in my favourite position, I'm captain, we're winning.
"Things at the club are really good. For years and years, I've moaned about not being involved in a title race and being far away from the other teams.
"But, at the moment, I'm playing in a team that's capable of beating anyone in the league."
Gerrard is, however, cautious about getting caught up in the euphoria surrounding Liverpool's recent re-emergence as genuine contenders.
United still have a game in hand and, on an individual level, are far more adept and experienced at coping with the pressurised demands of the climax to a Premier League title race.
"There's a good feeling around at the moment but it's important not to get carried away," Gerrard said.
"Man United are still favourites. If they win their game in hand they're four points ahead, which is a decent lead at this stage of the season with nine games to go.
"But confidence is high, the momentum is with us. We have to focus on what we're doing and, if they have another slip-up, we have to capitalise on it."
Gerrard's exceptional form has just brought more discussion with England about his best position.
And he said: "I would love nothing better than to be given the chance to play there for England to try to find that form."
Such a move by coach Fabio Capello would come at a cost to Wayne Rooney, who has previously been thought of as an automatic choice in the deeper attacking slot.
"Wayne Rooney can play anywhere," was Gerrard's instant reaction when the potential problem was pointed out.
As Gerrard, David Beckham and Emile Heskey played little part in training yesterday and Peter Crouch was sent for a precautionary scan on a calf injury, it is highly possible Capello will be spared the task of solving the puzzling dilemma on Saturday.
In Belarus last October, Capello chose to start with Gerrard on the left, where Rooney has been slotted in by Sir Alex Ferguson over the years.
It is a non-position in a sense, as the occupant is given licence to roam.
"The manager has explained clearly that he doesn't want me as an out-and-out left winger," said Gerrard.
"He wants me to be free and to go into places where I can cause problems for defenders."