Whether it’s the right decision or not, Stevie G will be severing ties with Liverpool at the end of the season as he winds down his career in the warmer climes of Los Angeles, helping the Galaxy challenge for the MLS title.
While fans debate if the club had done enough to keep Gerrard on Merseyside, the Anfield hierarchy will be drawing up a shortlist of players who can replace the talismanic captain. Here are five names that could well be on that shortlist.
Morgan Schneiderlin – Southampton
The French midfielder has amassed over 200 appearances for Southampton in central midfield and has improved with every passing season. The 25 year-old likes a tackle and is the glue in the Saints midfield, allowing the more creative players to express themselves.
Schneirderlin, while not comparable with Gerrard in terms of goals and attacking prowess, would be a welcome addition to the reds midfield and would be linking with former teammates Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren.
However, the defensive midfielder was on the verge of signing for Spurs over the summer to linkup with former manager Mauricio Pochettino, so North London seems a more likely destination with Arsenal also in the market for a holding midfielder.
Miralem Pjanic – Roma
The 24 year-old is an ideal and realistic replacement for the departing Gerrard as his all round game is similar to the reds captain and he wouldn’t cost a king’s ransom to prize away from Roma.
Pjanic is an intelligent footballer that can pick a pass others might not see, while his free kicks and ability to score long range screamers will get the Anfield seal of approval in an instant. Another positive is his Champions League experience with Roma and he rarely misses a game through injury.
But with Manchester United sniffing around Roma’s Kevin Strootman, the Serie A club would be reluctant to lose two key midfielders in a short space of time, so, with this in mind, Rodgers should be banging on the Roma door to seal a deal sooner rather than later.
Paul Pogba – Juventus
The young French midfielder is the current jewel in crown for the Italian champions and would be a dream signing for Liverpool. Pogba is arguably the most sought after player in European football and this alone would price him out of reach.
The 21 year-old has been linked with a return back to Manchester United with initial figures of £60m being bandied about. It’s hard to envisage Pogba returning to Old Trafford, but the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Paris SG would represent a more likely destination for the Juventus man.
Pogba has the potential to develop into one of the world’s best midfielders. His passing, dribbling and ability to dominate and dictate the pace of the game is astonishing for a player so young.
Nothing seems to faze him and I’m sure Brendan Rodgers would run to Italy and back to sign the French midfielder but in reality Liverpool are rank outsiders to sign Pogba should he decide to leave Turin.
Moussa Sissoko – Newcastle United
Another Frenchman makes the list in the shape of 25 year-old Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko. He can play the role of defensive lynchpin or marauding attacker and could do a more than able job for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
And with Sissoko making eyes towards the St James Park exit door, Rodgers shouldn’t have too much trouble arranging a deal for the 25 year-old – if he can outmanoeuvre Arsenal and Paris SG.
Sissoko has plenty of Premier League experience and could slot straight into the first team, but is prone to lapses of concentration and wouldn’t be the marquee signing that Liverpool fans crave.
Fabian Delph – Aston Villa
Liverpool fans look away now. Fabian Delph has been heavily linked with a switch to Anfield as his contract runs down at Villa Park – but to mention him in the same breath as Steven Gerrard is unthinkable.
Delph, to his credit, has had a fine 12-18 months with Aston Villa and has been their standout midfielder but this can be counter balanced with his poor goal scoring record and he tends to go missing in games when things aren’t going his way.
A good player in his own right and one who would make a good addition to the squad but he lacks the quality and personality to make any significant impact at Anfield should he make the switch.