Replacing Steven Gerrard this summer will be an unenviable task for Liverpool, with the Anfield club legend ending a defining stint with the Merseyside club to move to the MLS.
Although the Kop hero has not been as influential this season from a footballing perspective as age starts to take its toll, making up for the veteran’s experience, leadership and presence will be next to impossible.
Both Emre Can and Jordan Henderson look like worthy contenders to take over from Gerrard in the heart of Liverpool’s midfield and be a leader for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
However, it is widely expected that the Merseysiders will dip into the transfer market to add another top-class option in the heart of the team.
The Reds’ recent strong form continued on Monday night, where Rodgers’ men rode their luck to some degree to beat Swansea 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium.
The visitors came up against a familiar face, with ex-Liverpool man Jonjo Shelvey in the Welsh club’s ranks.
Ahead of the fixture, the once-capped England international revealed that both Rodgers and Gerrard tried to change his mind about leaving Liverpool.
The 23-year-old moved to Anfield as a promising talent from the Charlton ranks, but in three seasons was not given a consistent chance in the Reds’ starting XI – with Gerrard ironically a significant hindrance to Shelvey’s opportunities to play.
However, there is an argument to suggest that the now Swansea star could well have been a player with the attributes to potentially play a key role for Liverpool next season with Gerrard no longer available.
The Romford-born playmaker may not be in the same class as the Liverpool legend was in his pomp, but has a handful of attributes that are reminiscent of the Merseyside icon.
Shelvey’s range of passing and vision were evident during his time at the Anfield club, while his long-range shooting continues to be an impressive feature of his game.
His work-rate, desire and energy are all not dissimilar from what Gerrard offered the Reds whilst still in his prime, while his combative nature and willingness to go toe-to-toe with opponents sees him as an important man for Swansea.
Although most Liverpool fans will call out for an established and proven international player to be added to Rodgers’ ranks this summer, had Shelvey still been on the Merseyside club’s books he could well have played a part in nullifying the impact of Gerrard’s departure.
The 23-year-old clearly has some areas of his games where he can continue to improve, while he needs to deliver consistently for Swansea if he is to prove that he has what it takes for a club with top-four ambitions.
Getting to the level that Gerrard has shown over the years seems out of Shelvey’s reach, but the Swansea man has a unique skillset that could have been of use to Liverpool going forward.