BRENDAN RODGERS was not planning for any extra celebrations at Anfield on Sunday.
Three points and a positive performance was all the Liverpool manager was working towards.
But in the midst of the Reds’ lethargic first-half display against Swansea City on Wednesday night, he needed to call on the cavalry and fast forward a milestone in Steven Gerrard’s career.
Should Gerrard feature against Newcastle this weekend then he starts breathing the rarefied air of those in the ‘600 club’.
He will become the 10th name on a list of Reds royalty who have played 600 games and more for the club – it is a line-up of special players and a group who would have made a rather special side.
Leading the line in such a make believe team would be Ian Rush.
The owner of 660 Liverpool appearances – not to mention 346 goals – the Welshman stands fifth in the all-time list of games played for the club and says Gerrard will be a welcome and deserving addition to the group.
Football finds itself scratching around for loyalty in the modern game but Gerrard’s belief and love for Liverpool is a reminder that it can be found.
“It is a fantastic achievement,” said Rush.
“It shows that he has real loyalty to this club but to have made 600 appearances is a big achievement in itself.
“Sunday will be great for him and something he should be really proud of.
“People seem to talk about the injuries Steven has suffered throughout his career but he can’t have been on the sidelines that long if he is on the verge of making his 600th appearance.
“He keeps himself really fit and really looks after himself.
“As you get older, this becomes even more important and Steven continues to do that.”
But Rush believes it is as much Gerrard’s relentless enthusiasm for the game, as it is his preparations, which will keep him playing for many years to come and push him towards a new appearance landmark.
“He still wants to play,” Rush said of Gerrard.
“He still wants to play for his country as well, which is important.
“Time will tell how many more years he can continue to play but he hopefully there is plenty left in him.
“He can still make a difference to this team.
“It angers me sometimes when Steven maybe has a bad game by his standards and people have a go.
“Even the best have bad games and how quickly people forget that Steven has won countless games for Liverpool by himself.
“Everyone remembers Steven’s performance in Istanbul but you could pick any number of games when he has taken the game by the scruff of the neck, as a favourite of all his games.
“You could pick any number of the games against Manchester United because he always stands up to be counted in those matches.”
Rush marked his 600th game, against Blackburn Rovers in the League Cup, with the 13th hat-trick of his Anfield career and like the club’s record scorer, Gerrard has often marked his big occasions with goals.
On the captain’s 500th appearance, he opened the scoring against Blackburn and found the net against the Ewood Park side again in January 2011, in his 550th game.
Rush remembers the goals on his landmark night very well and believes it would be fitting if strikes from Gerrard acted as the catalyst for a Reds win on Sunday.
“I remember the build-up to my 600th appearance,” said Rush.
“I wasn’t in the best of form and Roy Evans was talking about dropping me.
“It was in the back of my mind and so I knew that I needed to do something to convince him to keep me in the team.
“I scored a hat-trick and showed that it was too soon to start writing me off.”
Although Rush is confident Liverpool can help mark Gerrard’s special day with a win, he says they must be aware of Newcastle’s predatory strikeforce.
“Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba are quality,” said Rush.
“Those two were a major reason why Newcastle did so well last season and they are scoring this season.
“Liverpool can’t allow Newcastle to play because they will score if that happens.”