FOOTBALL should make us all feel like a kid. There is so much noise around football now, it’s easy to forget what makes it so great. We live in a footballing world where managers talking to the press is hyped up as a main event. Where the people who live closest to inner city stadiums can’t afford to go and watch the team who play there. Where Twitter allows people to compete over who is the most angry, and therefore cares the most. “You hate the manager??? I want him DEAD!!!”
Kids in the playground aren’t bothered about any of that though. They aren’t asking their mates if they heard what Mourinho said after the game, they are talking about Eden Hazard’s goal. They aren’t talking about pass completion rates, they’re talking about Coutinho flicks. They are talking about which players they think should sign for Liverpool or Everton. And then they are grabbing a ball, or something that resembles one, and pretending to be Steven Gerrard.
Steven Gerrard was the player every kid dreams of being. A player who could be running back winning the ball one minute and be scoring from 25 yards the next. Who was capable of passes you hadn’t even contemplated. Who could flat track bully against average Premier League teams, but saved his best for the biggest stage of all. Who also slipped when we all thought the greatest script was written. He was the closest to Roy of the Rovers a footballer could be. At one point he was the best in the world.
The key word, unfortunately, in all that, is the word ‘was’. Stoppage time in yesterday’s game against Leicester demonstrated how the years have caught up with him. A flying tackle he used to make was horrifically late. A loose ball that in the past you wouldn’t want to fall to anyone else went tamely over the bar.
So that should mean its the right time for him to move on? I’m still not sure. In a football club that doesn’t seem to value footballing experience we have become a team which doesn’t seem to be able to contain it. Three years ago John Terry looked finished as an exposed centre half under Villas Boas. Now he looks accomplished again under Mourinho. A man who values experience and smarts above all.
That’s not to say Brendan hasn’t tried. He’s shifted Gerrard around several positions this season, but none have worked out. His best performance this season probably came as an impact substitute, but its unlikely that is how he wishes to see out his days. Because he’s a proud man, like all top players are, and he won’t want to hang around if he isn’t able to perform how he’d like. Steven Gerrard might be able to contribute to a Liverpool team, but he no longer feels able to contribute enough to this one.
So it’s experience lost, in a team where it is seriously lacking. A team which has recently lost Jamie Carragher, Luis Suarez and Pepe Reina, will this summer lose Gerrard and probably Glen Johnson. You can even go back to Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano. Some of those would be able to contribute next season, most would not. But there is a lot of first team appearances gone there, and plenty of trophies. Which have been replaced with youth, promise and hope.
Its a mighty gamble. One that apparently the club feels they have to make to compete with those with more resources. They could spend on experience in the summer of course, but it’s unlikely. We will probably go into the 2015/16 season with Jordan Henderson as captain.
It’s a mighty gamble. But Steven Gerrard will leave in the summer, and a new chapter begins. Kids will have to pretend to be someone else.
STEVEN GERRARD: YOU KNOW YOU’LL OFTEN STOP AND THINK ABOUT HIM
Great piece! That final sentence says an awful lot. This club needs men who are football minded right now but it contains those who are business minded instead. There’s been talk of a club in limbo many times over the past 5/6 years. Next season will feel the same way. Players and Fans need to stick together now. Fuck the keyboard warriors off, Liverpool football club deserves better.
I made the point to my mate last night that it was only a few short years ago that we had the likes of Carra, Kuyt, Alonso, Masch, Reina etc who were leaders on the pitch, established internationals who played for the top national teams in the world (Carra?) and now after Gerrard leaves who do we have??!!
That’s a major worry! This fascination with buying players under the age of 23 is all well and good up to a point but sometimes you just have to spend that bit extra for quality and experience. An example of this is our goalkeeping situation. We should be going all out to get Cech but as he’s 32 we probably won’t. He has about 4/5 seasons left in him but because he has no resale value and wants decent wages we’ll likely not go for him.
If we continue to shy away from experienced players then we’ll continue to fall short and our best young players will be cherry picked by the bigger clubs.
This is not to mention that we need the experienced players, the winners to guide the younger players through leagues and cups. Hendo is likely to be the next Capt but he’s still young and only played with Gerrard for a coupla yrs and hasn’t really won anything yet. Who stands out as a vice Capt?? No one!
And I meant to add…… Gerrard, Kolo, Johnson and Lucas are all likely to leave in the summer. We are gonna need 2/3 new midfielders to come in with at least one of them to hit the ground running. Are we gonna make the same mistake as last summer and it will take until half way through the season for new players to find their feet. Surely we should be investigating new midfielders now and tying them up for the summer or are we gonna leave everything to last minute again, putting all our eggs in one basket to blow it??
Time to start acting like a big club again!!
FSG won’t pay the wages these kind of players can get elsewhere. Rafa and Ged pulled in a fair amount of leadership because they were allowed to spunk £80-120k/week on their wages. But we have captain material in the squad.
Lucas is a leader and the consummate professional, and would vice-captain if Rodgers didn’t want him out. Henderson has captained at all levels and clearly has enough shouty in him. Lallana was Soton’s captain, Sahko was captain of his club at the age of 12 or something daft, Skrtel is captain of the national side,
Removing Gerrard will force players to get on with their own game. Having an untouchable around them is probably stifling the squad. We’ll find out next season if FSG aren’t pulling a fast one with FFP letting a player go to the shitty MLS only to be loaned back.
FSG have obviously never been told about McAllister…
As painful as it is to say, this is the right time for Gerrard to go. It’s been horrible to watch at times this season but games are just simply passing him by. A worldy of a free kick aside, the Basle game was the perfect example of this. His influence from open play just isn’t there and teams are picking him out as the weakness in the side which should never be the case. He doesn’t deserve to finish his career like that and a few years in the MLS is the perfect way to end for him. Let him go and enjoy his last couple of years in the sun. All the best Stevie!
This is the best decision for both player and the club. When one of my hero’s John Barnes left the club in 97 it was a sad occasion but it would of been even more devastating to see Barnes leave in 88-90. For the club to have held on to Gerrard in his peak years and for Gerrard to be loyal to the club from 05 til now is a testament of the man. What I think Gerrard will find is how much he is respected in the footballing world and after the last 6 months of personal pain he has suffered from the slip to the world cup he totally deserves to the feel that love.
As for the Liverpool just like with other great players who have left the club it will give somebody else the space to shine. Gerrard is a wonderful player but over the years I have seen players and teams putting in very good performances without Gerrard in the side. It was the 5-0 win over spurs last season which really stamped Brendon Rogers mark on Liverpool and even Monday’s 4-1 win over Swansea was the first sign that Liverpool have found a system to get the best out of the team. The problem is that just like Balotelli and Lambert, Gerrard’s style of play does not fit into this system and even more concerning is that to include Gerrard is to stifle the progress of our next captain in waiting Jordan Henderson. So it’s important that Henderson gets that space to show his leadership in his best position.
No matter what happens this season it gonna end in tears saying farewell to a legend….a man who dared us to dream in 2005 and left us breathless in 2006 and told us to lets go again in 2014 on each occasions demonstrating the power of the will to win.
Zindane was a poet
Maradonna was a genius
Gerrard was a Hero
Firstly, I want to say I don’t know any of the background to Gerrard going. It’s sounds like you’ve probably heard valid rumours about what’s gone on which I’d guess is down to the wages the club have offered him in his new contract. Also, I agree with everything in the article.
To me though, Gerrard has looked like he’s been carrying the weight of LFC on his shoulders for years. If he wasn’t a Scouser he’d have gone years ago. He deserved too. Liverpool haven’t been good enough for him. So, I think he’s stayed out of loyalty / guilt, not threats or footballing decisions. So, whatever has gone on I’m sure Gerrard is made up the opportunity has arisen to go and live in LA or New York for a few years. We nearly achieved his dream, I’m sure he was optimistic for this season. It’s clear now we won’t win the league in Gerrards playing days. The time is right for him regardless of what that means to the club. So far, my thoughts on this haven’t been about what it means to the club, only about what it means to him. I’m made up he’s finally broke the shackles, of us, off him. Like everyone, I wish him all the best and will always feel gratitude for what he’s given us.
Gerrard was offered a new short term deal with reduced wages, he said fuck off.
You’ve made that sound he was only interested in the money. If that was the case he could have left Liverpool several years ago on several occasions for massive money every week but he didn’t. He wants to play regular football, week in , week out, unfortunately we can’t offer him that and to be honest he’s not up to it.
Do you think he’s going to LA on a lower wage than he currently gets just to play every week? No, neither do I, and why should he, but lets not pretend money doesn’t play a part in it
He’s been offered more lucrative deals elsewhere.
The assessment of what Gerrard can offer this team should have absolutely zero to do with how much better he used to be in 2009, or 2005. That makes no sense whatsoever
Coutinho, Henderson, Can, Lallana, Sterling, Allen, Lucas. Realistically the 7 other players with whom Stevie is competing for a midfield(ish) starting berth. Together, those players have 100 EPL appearances between them this season contributing 13 goals.
Time for them to step up then isn’t it?
One could argue that the majority of them have had the opportunity to ‘step up’ since August.
There has to come a day when the team needs to play without an ageing skipper. I know you’re emotional about this, but why not now? You must see this. It’s no good being blinded by sentiment, not for the club or the manager, at any rate.
My first bit of playground commentary when I was on the ball: “McDermott….oh that was beautiful!”
It’s going to be easier to dedicate a Premiership title to Stevie, than to win one with him in the team. He owes the club and fans absolutely nothing. The club and fans owe him heaps. Let’s hope he returns as part of the coaching staff, club ambassador or even better, Liverpool Fc Manager.
Good luck SG. Missing you already.
Who was it who said ‘you’ll win nothing with kids’?
For the past 10 years or more Gerrard has been the whole heartbeat of this Club.To see him vilified
on these pages over the past few months has actually been quite sad.
But it seems to me that most of the criticism and bile has come from “Jonny Come Lately”supporters with no memory banks or any real understanding about formations and tactics;and not just those that take place just on the pitch.
As a wild guess I would suspect that there has been some kind of difference of opinion going on at Anfield for a few months now.And somebody has just won a battle…But maybe not the war!
Not really Brian. I was brought up in Bootle in the 70s and have been a supporter since then. I’ve also played a fair amount of football, watched an awful lot and read an awful lot. So I don’t fit any of your personally selected criteria. No-one has the right to dismiss others opinions without engaging with them. You talk of memory banks, tactics and formations then answer me this: can you remember Bob Paisley desperately trying to prolong a player’s career by shoehorning him into the team to the detriment of others? Can you remember Bob Paisley keeping hold of a player too long? Can you remember Bob Paisley having to move Souness, Hansen or Dalglish around the pitch because they were defensively suspect? The answer is no, because all of the above were not only great players but tactically switched-on. They were managers on the pitch.
Steven’s been a fantastic player for us, sadly he isn’t anymore. Age and injuries will do that to anyone and despite some of the panegyrics here and elsewhere, he is only human. Let him enjoy his last days in the sun, away from the goldfish bowl. He deserves it.
I’m sure your heart’s in the right place Mate.So,no offence.
But as for panegyrics ?Well,I had some in Nando’ s the other night.
Too much garlic!
I tend to think back to last season when we really started to accelerate. 5-0 Tottenham. Gerrard injured and everyone stepped up a gear. Particularly Henderson, who seemed to come out from Gerrard’s shadow. Before his injury, we spent the first half of the season complaining how Gerrard visibly slowed after the 60 minute mark. His absence seemed to breathe new life into the squad with Lucas, Henderson, and Allen playing as a real unit.
And then Rodgers had a rethink and Gerrard came back as a quarterback and a leader of unparalleled stature. I’m one to think of moments and his speech after Man City was a moment transcending mere football into something closer to a revelation about humanity. The slip was literary more than anything, but it will never take away from the “we go again” moment anymore than the final minutes of Crystal Palace will take away from the glorious vision of Suarez grabbing the ball out of the net at 3-0.
Istanbul lives in more than the memory. It is truly home in my heart. That wasn’t football happening. That was Shakespeare and Gerrard has been our Prince Steven, a character of great drama and complexity. And I’ll always be thankful for the privilege to have watched him on the Anfield stage these many years.