Liverpool slumped to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United at the weekend, which has taken the gloss off the Merseyside club’s campaign start.
Although the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana were missing for the defeated side, the absentee most acutely missed was captain and midfield talisman Jordan Henderson.
Despite Brendan Rodgers opting for a three-man central midfield trident of Emre Can, Lucas Leiva and James Milner, United held control of the game for the majority, with Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger winning the majority of the battles.
There is a collective feeling that the Reds’ midfield is slightly unbalanced this season, with the Northern Irish coach yet to find the ideal blend to take the team forward.
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The departure of Steven Gerrard was always going to be felt after the stalwart made the decision to move to LA Galaxy, but it appears in the early days of the campaign that the Merseysiders are lacking direction from the centre of midfield.
Gerrard’s playing time last season was reduced as the veteran started to feel his age, which was a key reason in the former England international deciding to call time on his Anfield tenure.
However, the long-serving midfielder’s presence, range of passing and authority are seemingly being missed, with Rodgers not finding a solution as yet.
With Liverpool’s midfield concerns in mind, there is a very real possibility that the club are now starting to realise their error in selling Jonjo Shelvey. The former Charlton star was never really given a consistent chance to show what he was capable of for the Reds and has since started to live up to the potential that was evident during his days at Anfield.
Still not a complete midfielder by any means or someone of the same calibre as Gerrard at his prime, Shelvey still has work to do to improve, but the signs are there that he has all the weaponry to be a Premier League star.
Since moving to Swansea, regular football was afforded the midfielder an opportunity to learn from his mistakes, develop his style of play and fine-tune the things he is good at on the big stage.
A key member of Garry Monk’s continually over-achieving side, Shelvey is the creative fulcrum through which the team’s play is dictated; the springboard to propel the likes of Andre Ayew, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jefferson Montero into action.
Shelvey’s eye for a pass has been a key element of the Liberty Stadium outfit’s side in recent years, while his thunderous shots from distance have become a trademark in South Wales.
With this combative performer also adept at putting a foot in and playing a part in the team’s defensive efforts, Shelvey has started to get international recognition also as a box-to-box option for England.
At the time, Gerrard blocked the ex-Charlton man’s path and he opted to leave Anfield in search of regular first-team football.
Fast forward a couple of years and Shelvey would now be an important member of Rodgers’ side.