Betfair blogger Gareth Freeman wonders whether it’s time Liverpool sold Gerrard.
Over the last couple of days rumours emerged that captain fantastic himself could be heading for the Anfield exit. Steven Gerrard moved quickly to deny these rumours, but I’m wondering – would it be best if he did leave at the end of the season?
Gerrard is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best, in the world in his position and has been a massive factor in Liverpool’s successes over the past decade. He is also one of the best footballers I’ve ever seen and in no way do I want this to be read as a criticism of Gerrard but sometimes a change can benefit a side.
It’s fair to say this season has been a disappointment for Liverpool and their fans. Even if they manage to lift the Europa League and force their way into next season’s Champions League the season will still be viewed as a let-down. There are many reasons why Liverpool have not performed particularly well, the loss of Xabi Alonso, injuries to the likes of Fernando Torres and Gerrard himself and a general lack of firepower when it really counts.
It seems strange to suggest that selling Gerrard could be good for Liverpool but at the start of next season he will be 30-years-old and he can’t go on forever. His play is characterised as much by his energy and commitment as his skill and his fitness levels will inevitably drop with age. It seems a bit presumptuous to suggest he only has a few years left but realistically his body will start to tire, indeed the number of injuries he has suffered this season suggest he may be starting to decline already.
Liverpool do not have the finances enjoyed by Chelsea, Manchester City and possibly Manchester United (they seem to be in a complicated financial situation that I don’t fully understand in all honesty). If Gerrard was to depart this summer he could command a reasonably big transfer fee, again it is impossible to guess but you would expect at least £25million if not more. That money could be reinvested into the squad and Gerrard, one of the club’s top earners, would be off the wage bill. Selling to a Premier League rival would be a mistake, but a big club in Italy or Spain may make an offer (AC Milan maybe? Even after the 2005 Champions League final…) that could be worth considering.
Gerrard is undoubtedly one of the best footballers England has ever produced but it may be time he left Anfield. There is little room for sentiment in the world of football and if Liverpool receives the right offer I genuinely think it could be time for Gerrard to move on. However, he should not go in January – considering Liverpool’s current situation that would be crazy, and he may shake off his injury problems and enjoy an uninterrupted second half of the season. If he is to go the up-coming summer may be the ideal time, before his value drops and it would give the Liverpool boss time to rebuild a side capable of challenging at the top of the Premier League table.