Steven Gerrard’s last season at Anfield was always going to be an emotional one. Liverpool may have failed to sign off in style – losing 6-1 away to Stoke on the final day of the 2014/15 campaign – but even such a damning result like that couldn’t take away from their captain’s final swansong on Merseyside and in the Premier League in general.
Now, the 35-year-old former England captain takes to the States where LA Galaxy will play host to the centre-midfielder as he looks to try his hand in the MLS. The ‘soccer scene’ in the US will likely offer Gerrard the chance to play in a seemingly more relaxed environment, away from the high pressure atmosphere that distinctly surrounded the Reds throughout their entire campaign last season.
Whether or not Liverpool will ultimately be able to improve without their beloved talisman on board remains a discussion still widely up for debate, though. Everything has to come to an end at some stage, yet the question marks certainly still seem to be following Brendan Rodgers and his determined side in the run up to the 2015/16 campaign.
So then, just what will life be like on Merseyside without Steven Gerrard firmly in place to steer the ship away from Anfield’s increasingly precarious waters?
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Will Liverpool actually improve now that they can finally begin a new chapter away from the Gerrard-mania that previously defined the club and everything that it achieved in the modern era, or does Steven Gerrard’s recent departure simply represent a sign of bad things to come for Brendan Rodgers in the not too distant future?
Before this discussion can truly get underway however, let it be made clear that what the iconic Liverpool no. 8 achieved for the club across his time at Anfield, was nothing short of remarkable. Whilst representing the Reds during the prime stages of his footballing career, Steven Gerrard honestly could have walked into any team in Europe.
From Real Madrid and Barcelona, to Bayern Munich and maybe even Manchester United – there was simply no side out there who couldn’t have been improved by the addition of Liverpool’s trusty captain throughout his peak years.
However, in an attempt to bring such a romanticized discussion well and truly back down to Earth, it must also be contended that the recent 2014/15 season was simply a troublesome campaign for Steven Gerrard. Last year’s showing on Merseyside was defined by some surprisingly slow build up play, an all-round lack of ideas in the final third, and a distinct imbalance within the team chemistry almost from the get go.
Perhaps more surprisingly though, was the fact that Steven Gerrard himself seemed to be right at the very heart of his team’s shortcomings last season. Despite his well known achievements for Liverpool in the past, Brendan Rodgers possibly should have boldly shown the door to his captain at the end of the 2013/14 campaign instead – for last season frankly seemed like a step too far for the increasing ageing midfielder.
Obviously such a statement is easily made through the use of hindsight, and as Steven Gerrard actually finished as Liverpool’s top goal-scorer in all competition’s last term, maybe it’s wrong to cast the former England international in such a negative light.
Such a notion ultimately says more about the overall poor standard of Liverpool’s squad and their increasingly worrying problems in the striking department however, if a 35-year-old, ageing star of yesteryear still proves the most effective in front of goal.
Even with such worrying concerns in mind though, Liverpool must now see Gerrard’s recent departure as the chance to write some new history for the club in the modern era. This is an opportunity for fresh faces to stake their claim at Anfield – and although last season simply proved an event to forget for the passionate Reds fans – 2015/16 could well offer up something the supporters had scarcely been expecting at all.
You just never seem to know in the world of modern day football.
As Rome seemingly wasn’t built in a day, perhaps the immediate aftermath of this move may initially prove tough for Brendan Rodgers as he seeks to develop a new identity for Liverpool next term.
The task of transferring the club’s history and traditions into the new era certainly remains a do-able though – even without a certain trusty Mr. Gerrard in place to keep the fans satisfied.