Rafa warns Stevie of status
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Rafa Benitez has warned Steven Gerrard off a move to star-studded Chelsea.Rafa Benitez has warned Steven Gerrard that if he leaves Liverpool he would lose the iconic status he currently enjoys.
The Reds' captain has been consistently linked with a summer move to big-spenders Chelsea, and his manager has now questioned why he should leave his hometown club where he is adored by the supporters.
A move to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea would inevitably see the midfielder become less of a stand-out performer as he has been at Anfield, with world class players in the form of Claude Makelele and Frank Lampard competing for a starting berth.
Benitez will be desperate to hold onto the player who has so often been the driving force of his side, and urged the England international to reject a move to London and cement his place as an Anfield legend.
"We always hear rumours about Steve," said Benitez.
"If you have the money and the supporters with you, all those positive things, you could lose them if you move to another club.
"You may be just one more player in another team, here at Liverpool you are the star.
"To change these things may not be wise, so why not carry on being the star?
"I know the value of these things and I have talked to Steve about it a few times."
Benitez faces the daunting task of taking on Mourinho's men in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League next week, and Gerrard could be key if Liverpool are to claim their fifth European Cup.
The Liverpool boss insisted that if his side overcome the odds and defeat their Premiership rivals the result could have a positive knock-on effect for the future of the club.
"We have a good team playing good football and with Steve we can play better," Benitez continued.
"We need to do the right thing for the future and winning important games will make that easier."
Gerrard's future looks somewhat uncertain at Anfield despite the best efforts of his coach, although Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has ruled his side out of the race to secure his signature.
"We are not in for Steven Gerrard and I am not especially interested in him," said Wenger.
"I don't say that because I think he is not a great player, because he is, but because I know that he will not go for less than £30 million.
"I don't envisage that we could spend that on just one player, so I do not even think about him."
If Gerrard is to leave then Benitez will have to strengthen his squad in the summer, and reports are suggesting that the Spaniard will raid his home country to bring in Valencia's Ruben Baraja and Deportivo's Albert Luque.