Gerrard pledges career to Liverpool

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has pledged to finish his career with the Premier League club.

Gerrard has two and a half years to run on his current contract and the England midfielder is keen to sign an extension that would enable him to see out his playing days at Anfield. The 28-year-old twice came close to joining Chelsea in recent years but, with Liverpool looking stronger than ever under Rafa Benitez, he has no intention of walking away.

"I have two and a half years left on my contract and hopefully I will sign another one and stay for the remainder of my career," he told Liverpool's website. "I don't know what's going to happen over the next ten years but certainly for the next five or six I hope I'm playing in Liverpool's first team."

Liverpool-born Gerrard has becoming the face of the club since making his first-team debut 10 years ago and led them to Champions League triumph in 2005, as well as almost single-handedly winning the 2006 FA Cup final.

"It's hard to believe I have been in the first team for ten years because the time has just flown by," he said. "I'm very proud to be able to say I have played for the first team for ten years.

"If someone had said ten years ago that I would go on to be captain and lift the European Cup then I wouldn't have believed them, but I've had to work very hard to get to where I am and to win trophies both on a personal level and as part of the team."

Gerrard is keen to stay in football when he retires and he added: "We'll have to wait and see about management but I certainly want to get my qualifications to enable me to coach and manage. Then I'll have to decide what I want to do. Whether I'll be interested in the Gary Ablett (Liverpool reserve coach) type role, the Sammy Lee (Liverpool assistant manager) role or the Rafa Benitez role, I don't know. I just want to get all my badges and then we'll see."

Meanwhile, Gerrard will miss Saturday's clash against Fulham as he recovers from the muscle tear which stopped him playing in England's win over Germany on Wednesday. He has been in light training but Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez ruled him out of the Premier League fixture and admitted the midfielder's chances of being fit for next week's Champions League game with Marseille are only 50-50.

"He is improving but it is still too soon for this weekend," Benitez told Liverpool's website. "He is still working with the physios so he will not be fit for this game. He might be available for Wednesday but it depends on his progress. Hopefully we will have him back for the Marseille game."

Full-back Alvaro Arbeloa returns after a one-match ban and Robbie Keane has recovered from the shoulder injury which kept him out of Republic of Ireland's friendly against Poland.

"I think he (Keane) will be okay," Benitez said. "He was training today (Friday) so he should be fit for the game. Some of the players who have returned from international games are a little bit tired, but I think most of them will be okay for this weekend."