Stevie G : He'll Walk Alone

Gerrard has been a Liverpool player for more than 11 years, making more than 400 appearances for the club that he almost led to Barclays Premier League glory a year ago.

But it is understood that the Anfield hierarchy are concerned by the lack of a relationship between the midfielder and manager Benitez and fear he will look at other options this summer.

With Benitez’s game of bluff and counter-bluff with the Liverpool board over his future at an impasse, it seems likely that the Spaniard will still be at the club next season

It is feared, however, that this will heighten Gerrard’s sense of gloom with regard to the future and many people at the club are thought to feel it unlikely that the next campaign will begin with both manager and captain on board.

Having missed out on Champions League qualification with a dismal seventh place League finish this season, Benitez and his players are aware that there is little money to spend on new talent, something that is a big worry to Gerrard as he looks to win the title at his beloved club.

With Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal cemented as the top three teams in the country and Tottenham and Manchester City ready to challenge again next season, Gerrard is aware that his chances of winning the title with Liverpool are remote.

It is understood that he feels Benitez has been given the chance to take Liverpool forward but, having failed to build on 2005’s amazing Champions League win, has not been able to take it. Benitez and the Liverpool board are aware that star striker Fernando Torres is wondering whether his career could benefit from a move, but there is now a feeling that Gerrard is the player more likely to leave.

The 29-year-old remains frustrated that he has not won a League title and knows that time is running out. A move abroad is most likely to tempt him and Real Madrid will certainly be interested if Jose Mourinho takes over this summer.

Twice, in 2004 and 2005, Gerrard almost left Liverpool to join Mourinho at Chelsea and a move to Spain would be the perfect way out for the Liverpool skipper. At home, Manchester City made their own tentative interest but realise Gerrard will not go to Eastlands despite not having to uproot his family.

A fee in excess of £25million for Gerrard would at least give Benitez room to manoeuvre in the transfer market.

 Exclusively by: Ian Ladyman | Northern Football Correspondent

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