Brendan Rodgers has lauded Steven Gerrard for returning to Melwood in great condition - and predicted that the skipper will be an integral part of his Liverpool team for a good few years yet.

Gerrard told Liverpoolfc.com last week that he was just a couple of weeks away from full training as he continues his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery.

The 33-year-old reported for the first day of pre-season today and Rodgers was delighted with what he saw.

The boss said: "It's like the first day back in school - all the players are back in with little tans, refreshed and looking well. None more so than Steven.

"It's a big credit to him - he's worked tirelessly over the summer.

"He had his operation towards the end of the season and the plan was for him to continue his rehab over the off-season.

"He won't be too far away. He looks great and is in great condition.

"He's 33 now but Steven is still an integral part of what I'm trying to do here and will be for the next few years."

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