After adding Yossi Benayoun to his squad, Benitez has restored Gerrard to his most effective position and the England midfielder is convinced it could prove central to Liverpool's hopes of closing the gap on Manchester United and Chelsea.
The signs already point to a greater output than ever, according to Gerrard, who added to his pre- season goals tally with the equaliser in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Feyenoord. "I don't normally score in these build-up games, so to get three is very encouraging," he said. "I know now I'm going to get my chance in the middle and that's where I enjoy playing the most and where I believe I have most to offer.
"I have played most of the preseason there and really enjoyed it. The manager knows that is where I want to be. There is a lot of football to be played over the course of the season but it looks like I'm going to get my opportunity in the centre and I'm pleased about that.
"The Feyenoord game was exactly what you want a week before the start of the season, especially as it is so vital we hit the ground running against Aston Villa. We have to be right at it, because you can't give any of the top teams a head start. If you find yourself trailing after a few games, it is so difficult to make up the ground."