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Monday, December 17, 2012

Is Liverpool Talisman Steven Gerrard a Spent Force?


When Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers took over the reigns at Anfield following the dismissal of club icon Kenny Dalglish, he was quick to admit that it would take a fair share of time for the club to turn round its fortunes and regain its standing as one of England and Europe’s elite clubs. With him came a new football philosophy; a possession-based one where the ball is passed around to wear down opponents before the ball hits the back of the net. In a supporters’ mind, every goal would be accompanied by the words ‘sheer class’ from a commentator. Well, more often than not.


But while the former is continually being manifested week in, week out, the latter, and perhaps the most important element has been the most wanting. The Reds have been creating multiple chances but the cancerous profligacy that marred the season past is still ghosting on the Merseyside club. A failure to sign a proven striker during the last transfer window has been well documented and the manager as well as the club’s owners are both in consensus that that was a wrong that must be made right come January.



Liverpool’s latest loss against Aston Villa was described as ‘self-inflicted’ by Brendan. And self-inflicted it was. The L4 club created numerous chances in the game but failed to convert. But when the opposition did create their own few chances, they, (read Christian Benteke), converted. It can’t any more frustrating than that. Can it?



It’s games like these that one Liverpool player used to feed on; Steven Gerrard. But gone are the days when the talisman would take the game by the scruff of its neck and rally his men to salvage not one, but three points when it all seemed lost. But in this and over the past couple of seasons, the Whiston-born midfielder hasn’t looked a bit of his former self.



Blame it on his age or the supposed change of footballing philosophy at the Merseyside club but the fact still remains that Steven Gerrard is no longer the Steven Gerrard of the old. There’s hasn’t been no lung bursting runs down the middle of the pitch, neither has there been those vicious shots goalkeepers like former West Ham custodian Shaka Hislop dreaded. Even the distinctive Stevie G tackles have been much less, and even when executed, they are time and again more of a miss than a hit.



Everything has been all too average for the man who’s inarguably the club’s best product to come out of the Melwood academy. He scored the consolation goal against Paul Lambert’s men but it’s hard to point out what much else contribution he made that would have changed the scoreline. In games gone past, he would score that one goal and then you would see in his body language that there was some belief. That he wanted to rally his troops in their quest to salvage something out of a game looking long gone. But in the Villa match, his body language was flat, his entire body looked withdrawn and his face frowned with frustration.



Ouch!



Only two goals in the league midway into the season is surely a statistic that the England captain, the club's fans as well as the manager can’t be proud of. But that’s an exact reflection of the contribution he has made at the club thus far in the season.



It’s hard to imagine the legendary Englishman being relegated to the bench. But even if that was to happen, there seems to be no player ready to step up and perform the captain’s role like Captain Fantastic so used to. He is still the only man who can do what he used to. Problem is, he is not doing it at the moment.



Liverpool fans can only wish that the captain is a wee bit out of form, in some sort of a blip, but that his class will see him regain his mojo and he will rise and come out of the current obscurity.

However, one this is for sure; Liverpool need their captain back!!

And That's thesteifmastertake!!