It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that Steven Gerrard has been far from in form this season. We all know that, when fit, Gerrard is pretty much untouchable at Anfield and a guaranteed starter. The talismanic captain has been the driving force when Liverpool have needed goals for almost a decade now and the club could always rely on him for producing the goods from somewhere. There were times when Gerrard was linked away from the club; between 2004 and 2005 Chelsea chased him relentlessly and it was believed that he’d leave his boyhood club for the newly rich club. Chief executive Rick Parry conceded that
“We have to move on. We have done our best, but he has made it clear that he wants to go and I think it looks pretty final.”
But Gerrard stayed, and helped Liverpool through everything they’ve been through since. Yet this season Gerrard’s poor form has been linked with supposed discontent and a desire to move away from the club in an attempt to win a league title. It’s the only thing Gerrard’s missing after a fine career with Liverpool and he’d love to get it with his boyhood club. But does his desire for the trophy outweigh his love for Liverpool? Liverpool legend Bill Shankly once remarked
“Now I want one thing. I want loyalty. I don’t want anybody to be carrying stories about anybody else. If somebody comes to me with a story – I warn you about this – whoever you’re telling it about won’t be the one who goes. It’ll be you. You’ll go – out! I don’t care if you’ve been here 15 year [sic]. I want everybody to be loyal to each other. And to do everything you do for Liverpool Football Club. And we’ll all get together. And that will make strength . . . And maybe one day we’ll get players as well!”
The same applies here; legend though he is for the club, if Gerrard’s heart isn’t in Liverpool any more then he must go, he is relied on too heavily by the team. As talismanic captain he finds the ball being played to him whenever possible by his teammates but he’s been lacklustre and has wasted many chances to drive his team forward. Liverpool proved they can cope without him whilst he was out injured last season and losing Gerrard would not be the issue many claim it would be.
But is Gerrard disheartened at the club or is it simply a case of his being affected by their poor form? Yes he’s partly to blame for that form as he’s a chief culprit but Rafa Benitez’s reign is going far from well and Gerrard may well have lost faith in Rafa’s managerial ability. If this is the case then the departure of Rafa would allow Gerrard to return to a top level of performing. A good indication would be his performances for England, a completely different set-up where he surely has faith in the manager.
Gerrard leaving would not be the end of the world but replacing such a crucial player would still not be an easy task and if there’s any way to keep Gerrard then Liverpool should look to utilise it. However, if Gerrard has truly lost heart in succeeding with Liverpool then maybe it’s best for all parties that he leaves; there’s nothing more unsettling than a big player causing trouble behind the scenes at a club and Gerrard’s meant to be setting an example, and not a bad one.
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