Brendan Rodgers has backed Steven Gerrard's intelligence to shine through as the Liverpool skipper looks to avoid a two-match suspension.

The 33-year-old received his ninth booking of the Barclays Premier League season in the 6-3 win at Cardiff City on Saturday, and will miss a brace of fixtures if a 10th card is totted up before the cut-off date of April 13.

The Reds tackle Sunderland, Tottenham, West Ham and Manchester City during that crucial period, and Rodgers is loathe to lose his captain as the campaign enters its closing stages.

Gerrard picked up just two bookings in the first 21 league games of this term, but has collected seven in his last 10 outings as he operates in a deeper role for Liverpool. Rodgers pointed out that the controlling midfielder has been unlucky with some of the yellow cards shown, but believes he is savvy enough to avoid a suspension.

"We just have to cope with the situation," the manager said.

"I have spoken to him about it and we just have to be that extra bit careful. I think he has been very unlucky. His last two bookings have been unlucky. The one against Manchester United should never have been a booking.

"He won a header that was very difficult to win and he was unfortunate against Cardiff at the weekend because he committed a foul which also should not have been a booking.

"We didn't help him because we gave away the ball so cheaply.

"He has been unfortunate. It's a role he can play and he will find a way, I'm sure. He just has to be a bit more cautious but he is clever enough to get through that."

Gerrard has been sensational for Liverpool this season, and has netted the third most goals for the club behind 'SAS' duo Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. He is also third in the league's overall table of assists for this term.