Brendan Rodgers has explained how he is working in close tandem with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard to manage a plan and fine-tune a role for the talismanic midfielder to ensure he maintains a high level of performance.

The No.8 led his teammates in training at Melwood on Tuesday morning before they flew to Sofia in Bulgaria, where the Reds tackle Ludogorets Razgrad in a crucial Champions League encounter tomorrow evening.

Three points are the target for Rodgers' side as they attempt to overhaul FC Basel in the battle to claim second place in Group B and secure a sought-after spot in the knockout stages of the European competition.

Soon after touching down, the manager met reporters and journalists gathered for a press conference, with those in attendance keen to hear the Northern Irishman's thoughts on his skipper's current form.

"For me it is simple - I judge Steven on merit," Rodgers commented. "I think the spotlight he has been under has been incredible when everything for us is based around being a team.

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"He is a wonderful, wonderful player. I can quite safely say he is the best player I have ever worked with in terms of footballing mentality.

"The commitment he has and the loyalty he has shown this football club is without question - it has been incredible. I think I've shown in my time as a manager, and in particular here, I don't deal so much in sentiment.

"There is nothing sentimental about me picking Steven Gerrard - I see Steven every day of my life. He is like clockwork, he is in every day between 8.30am and 8.45am preparing for his training session and how he works and operates.

"What he does on the training field, I judge him on that. I see the influence he has on other players. Of course, he is coming towards the latter part of his career, but he still has a really valuable contribution for me.

"If people are expecting Steven Gerrard to be the type of player he was 10 or 12 years ago, then sadly that is not the case. Steven has been slowly adapted into a position that I really felt would benefit the team - in a playmaking role from behind.

"The player that is maybe going to score 15 goals a season and make 13 or 14 assists, he is not that type of player anymore. It's hugely unfair he gets judged upon that level.

"Steven will be the first one to say that he can play three games a week but he won't be able to play it to the level he would like and that I would like. That's something that is my job to manage, along with him.

"We speak a lot in terms of the games and it's fairly easy to manage because he is such a top-class professional player and always accepts what is best for the team and what is best for Liverpool.

"In the modern world, it's not so much like that when it's about the player and the individual. Steven Gerrard is a unique case and every decision he knows is in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club.

"He has been a wonderful ambassador for the football club and he accepts the decisions. He is still a player that can contribute at a high level and it is my job to manage that and where and when that is."