Gerrard to stay with Liverpool

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has changed his mind and decided to stay with the Champions League winner.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has changed his mind and decided to stay with the Champions League winner, the club's chief executive Rick Parry said Wednesday. A day after Liverpool turned down a 32 million pound (US$56 million) transfer bid from Premier League champion Chelsea after the England midfielder said he had rejected a new Liverpool deal, Parry said Gerrard had now committed his future to the club. "I couldn't be more delighted. He has decided to stay with us because he realizes how much the club means to him," Parry said. "Even when he said he was going I don't think the language he used suggested he really wanted to go. "He was talking about the last few days being difficult and not being able to come back, he never actually said he wanted to go. "Over the last 24 hours he has reflected on it, thought it through and he wants to stay." Chelsea, Real eye Gerrard Chelsea and nine-time Champions League winner Real Madrid had been keen to sign Gerrard, and both are Liverpool's rivals when Rafa Benitez' team begins its defence of the title against Welsh champion Total Network Solutions next Wednesday. If Gerrard confirms he is staying and plays in that game at Anfield, the competition rules say that he will not be able to play for any of Liverpool's rivals in the competition even if he is transferred. Parry said he worked through the night talking to Gerrard and his agent. "We've had some emotional moments and we've cleared all of that," he said. "There were a few late night phone calls and a few early morning ones. "The last few days have been so difficult for him and I apologize to Stevie if I misread his emotions. But, in the last 24 hours he has reflected on it and thought it through. It's what we wanted all along." Salary rise? Gerrard was one of the leading forces behind Liverpool's amazing Champions League triumph in Istanbul May 25, when the team wiped out a 3-0 halftime deficit against AC Milan to win the title on a penalty shootout. The 25-year-old headed the first comeback goal and his all-round performance took the game away from the star-studded Italian team. But Gerrard's future at Anfield was in doubt because talks on a new contract had stalled. Although he had two years left on his current contract, he was asking for a new deal with a substantial salary rise from 80,000 pounds (US$140,000) a week to 100,000 pounds (US$175,000). (AP)