ROY HODGSON today threw down the gauntlet to his squad as he urged them to follow Steven Gerrard's lead and become heroes against Chelsea.
The Liverpool captain's 13-minute hat-trick against Napoli on Thursday has given the club a lift going into a potentially significant showdown with the league leaders.
Gerrard, of course, will return to the starting line-up tomorrow, as will Fernando Torres, who has caught the eye regularly in training at Melwood this week.
But while the match-winning capabilities of Gerrard and Torres are well known, Hodgson would not mind in the slightest if one of their colleagues upstaged them and took Monday morning's headlines.
Maxi Rodriguez did that at Bolton last weekend when popping up with a vital winner and Hodgson wants that to become a recurring theme to ease the burden on Liverpool's dynamic duo.
'Fernando is doing very well in training,' said Hodgson. 'He is looking much more like his old self. It is a pleasure to have a player of the quality to work with.
'He and Steven Gerrard are wonderful players but other players have got to start stepping up to the plate.
'But we can't just send out on a team that simply relies on Steven or Fernando or if they happen to have a slightly lesser game then we can't just throw the towel in.
'We need some of the others to nail their colours to the mast. If, God forbid, either one of them didn't happen to play so well, we need others to produce.
'To be fair, Maxi has done very well. Soto (Kyrgiakos) is another. He has come into the team after not playing so many games last year but he is doing a good job.'