We all know Stevie G is a Liverpool legend, a real servant of the club and a wonderful player, maybe even the best player club has ever had. Time unfortunately is no longer on his side, now 33, the years have caught up. The question now is what do Liverpool do with Steven Gerrard?
Now Gerrard is by no means done as a player, far from it. Last year was, aside from the last few weeks, injury free and his form was consistent in an inexperienced and changing side. However there is a need to preserve what is left in the tank, 2, maybe even 3 years is a possibility if managed well.
Gerrard made his name as an all action midfielder, box to box, tackles, goals and assists. These are what have made him a true world class performer on a global scale. Expectation is Gerrard will deliver this week in week out, but it’s just no longer possible for him to be this player. Brendan Rodgers is the man who needs to adapt Gerrard’s game, make him see that he needs to curtail those marauding runs and calm his game, a tough conversation with his captain fantastic but one he needs to have. This is the only way to get more great years out of him, make him the heartbeat of the team, he has all the qualities of Pirlo, so is very capable of performing that role for Liverpool and even England. It makes sense to do it now, Rodgers has the chance to bring in new players and he can build his team and style around a deep lying Gerrard.
The 2013/14 season is a real game changer not only for Brendan Rodgers but Liverpool Football Club itself. Another season languishing in 7th will see the club slip into the also rans and the possible abyss of mid table mediocrity for many years. This is a scenario that is quite real, and making the most of Steven Gerrard is a key factor in ensuring this does not happen.
This coming season, Gerrard should be paired alongside Lucas, anchoring up the centre of midfield, using his vision, awareness and football brain. This is how to use him sensibly, it’s a brave move to curtail such a gifted player, but it is the right one non the less. The arrival of Coutinho, bringing his samba skills and immense vision has negated the need for Gerrard to have to carry the team creatively, this has provided the ideal opportunity for Rodgers to look after his captain and make those subtle changes now.
A Gerrard/Lucas axis would make Liverpool extremely strong centrally. Adding Coutinho, Allen and the arrival of another creative player into the mix could and should make Liverpool a tough nut to crack in the coming season.
Over to you Brendan.
By Chris Hutchins