Will Liverpool ever get another Steven Gerrard once the Anfield legend hangs his boots? May be not. But someone will definitely come close.
Fortunately for the Merseyside outfit, they may not need to wait for so long for that someone to come throughs. It may be early alright to point at anyone in the squad who will fit in the boots of Captain Fantastic but one player continues to look the more likely.
Signed from Charlton Athletic for an intial fee of £1.7 million in the summer of 2010, Jonjo Shelvey is slowly establishing himself as one of Anfield’s favourite sons. Managers continually pound on young players to take their chances when given an opportunity to feature in the first team and the clean-shaven attacking midfielder has been doing exactly that.
His ascension from being a Championship loanee to a permanent fixture for Liverpool just shows how much progress the Romford-born lad has made. When you watch him play for England U21 or against big guns in the premier league like Manchester City and Chelsea or in Europe, it’s almost unbelievable to think that he’s only 20 years old.
Against Young Boys in the Europa League on Thursday night, Shelvey came in as substitute in the 66th minute and it’s his two goals that helped a young Liverpool squad lock out the game against their impressive opponents.
His first was a well-worked Liverpool goal. Fabio Borini made a run down the left channel before squaring the ball to Jordan Henderson who found Jonjo inside the penalty area. The former Charlton man took his chance guiding the ball to the back of the net via his right foot to give Liverpool a 4-3 lead.
His second was what fine individual efforts are made of. Collecting the ball from Hendo in the midfield, Charlton’s youngest-ever first-team player raced down the middle of the pack past everyone before unleashing a right foot shot past Marco Wolfli in the Young Boys goal. And for the second time in the night, he treated the travelling Kops to his trademark celebration where he mimics wearing sunglasses with his hands.
Jonjo’s performance at the Wankdorf Stadoim reminded me of Steven Gerrard’s hat-trick against Napoli in the 2010 Europa League. Shelvey was on the field that night when the Reds took on the Partenopei at Anfield. Napoli silenced the Kops when they took the lead at the half-hour mark courtesy of Ezequiel Lavezzi. But a 13minute hat-trick from substitute Gerrard saw the Reds claim all the three points.
On Wednesday, there wasn’t Gerrard on the pitch, nor in the substitutes bench. But there was Jonjo Shelvey who did to Liverpool what they are used to seeing from their ageing captain.
"He is still only 20 years of age and is developing and growing all the time and you saw his confidence when he came on," Reds manager Brendan Rodgers said in his post-match report.
Shelvey has definitely arrived into the scene and Liverpool’s midfielders should probably be looking over their shoulders. Gerrard may be?
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