Ex-Liverpool captain Whelan: Benitez should play Gerrard in middle

Whelan told the Daily Post: “I would always play Stevie in central midfield. I prefer Stevie in the middle alongside Xabi Alonso. That’s the strongest central pairing.

“Rafa played Sissoko alongside Mascherano against Aston Villa and I wouldn’t want him to do that again ideally, there wasn’t enough creativity between the pair of them.

“Mascherano is tidy and neat and will break things up, and he will be strong player for Liverpool but he isn’t the most creative.

“Having said that, when Sissoko was playing well before his injury, perhaps the strongest midfield was with Sissoko and Alonso in the middle and Gerrard on the right. But if Rafa could find a really strong right midfielder, there is enough on the left and he could play with Stevie and Alonso in the middle. I would want to see that every week.”