As Liverpool fans wake up to the news that Steven Gerrard will no longer be a player at the Merseyside club next season, Urban Echo asked the question last month… Could the unthinkable happen? Is Steven Gerrard not good enough for his boyhood club anymore?
As the superpowers of Steven Gerrard which Liverpool fans grew up watching are slowly disappearing with age, the criticism is mounting, but when it comes to truly pivotal moments in matches, Steven Gerrard is still the right man for the big occasion.
It’s fair to say Liverpool haven’t started their campaign as well as they did last year, and in addition to that, Steven Gerrard has had a tough time so far this season. The 34-year-old, arguably the best player in the clubs history has been written off by many, with some people questioning whether Gerrard should even be in the team. The Liverpool talisman definitely splits opinion, there are those who have grown up idolising the English midfielder and find it difficult to criticise him, but there are others who followed Liverpool before Steven Gerrard burst onto the scene and would be happy to see him play very little football. Regardless of your personal opinion on him, it’s hard to argue that there is a better player currently in the Liverpool squad to drag them through this rough patch.
Seven months ago Gerrard was on the verge of leading Liverpool to their first Premier League title in 24 years, now there’s a queue of ‘experts’ telling Brendan Rodgers that his team are better off without him. On the contrary the stats show us that Gerrard’s passing and chances created this season have improved, creating 2.2 chances every game in comparison to last season, 2.0 chances created. The only difference is the players around him have changed, last season he had Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, the world’s most in-form striking partnership in front of him slotting every assist into the back of the net. However, although Gerrard is still doing his bit this season, the men in front of him are not. Instead of mounting the blame and criticism on Gerrard, maybe Liverpool should question the poor transfer window and the men in front of him.
Gerrard’s passion, commitment and determination have been second to none. Whether it’s a nerve-jangling Champions League knockout game, domestic cup final or a Premier League weekend clash, the skipper has produced in some of the biggest matches, more than any other Liverpool player in the club’s renowned history. He still remains the only footballer in history to score in every final he’s played in; Champions League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup and the League Cup. Although some may argue that those days are long gone and he hasn’t been that player for years, you only have to look at the last couple of years to prove that theory wrong. Gerrard has scored a hat-trick against the Merseyside rivals Everton, two doubles at Old Trafford against arch competitors Manchester United and endless amount of penalties in their last ‘oh so close to the Premier League’ campaign last year.
Or even more recently, Liverpool’s clash against Basel on 9th December 2014 which deemed to be a “must-win” game, although they didn’t win, their saviour struck again. Gerrard’s 80th minute free-kick from outside the penalty area drew them level and gave the Anfield crowd something to passionately sing about. Not only that but also the idea that he is still Liverpool’s glory boy when it really matters
As the legend Thierry Henry once said: “I can’t think of a striker in the world who has scored as many important goals, never mind a midfielder.”
No one’s suggesting that Gerrard should start every Premier league game as the 34 year-old may not be the force he once was, but if there was one Liverpool player you would bank on being the difference, to turn to for a moment of inspiration, it would still be Liverpool’s born and bred ‘Captain fantastic’.
Since this article was written, Gerrard has today announced the unthinkable for any Liverpool fan. But deep down, they (the fans) are not disappointed with his decision. They are only disappointed that their club could not deliver the Premier League medal their Captain Fantastic so desperately yearned and deserved.