Steven Gerrard’s announcement that he will leave Liverpool at the end of the season sent shockwaves throughout the club.
The man that had been the foundation of a number of excellent Liverpool teams was finally going to depart the club whom he has represented for over two decades.
Although Liverpool fans were right to be worried about Gerrard departing the club, the team have shown in recent weeks that they are capable of performing at the highest level without their star man. The recent victory against Southampton was another confident and assured display, with two well taken goals enough to defeat a side also challenging for a spot in the top four. Simon Mignolet also collected his 10th Premier League clean sheet of the season as Liverpool looked solid at the back once again.
Jordan Henderson has been wearing the captain’s armband whilst Steven Gerrard has been out injured and the 24-year-old is showing the right qualities to replace Gerrard as the captain. Although Gerrard and Henderson are different players in terms of style, the former Sunderland man is an able replacement due to his maturity and excellent fitness record. If he keeps performing in the same impressive manner he has done all season, the next Liverpool captain should be a bit of a no-brainer.
One of the biggest losses due to Gerrard’s absence will be goals from midfield. Liverpool do have a number of young attacking midfielders that have shown that they can find the back of the net but there is nobody similar to Steven Gerrard in the current Liverpool squad.
This could be a problem for Brendan Rodgers as replacing a player like Gerrard in the summer could cost an extortionate amount of money. Therefore, the manager has two options: he can try and replace Gerrard or he could alter the way Liverpool play tactically.
For a while now, Steven Gerrard has not been the all-action, box-to-box midfielder due to his age restricting him from performing in a role that requires such a high level of energy. Therefore, Rodgers has almost prepared Liverpool for life without Gerrard this season already.
With a couple of quality signings in the summer, Liverpool will still be capable of challenging for the top four even without their captain. They have slowly found a way to cope without Luis Suarez and the same thing could happen next season in midfield. However, what is important is that the club continue to develop without Gerrard as well as maintaining a certain level of quality under Rodgers’ leadership.
Time will tell whether Liverpool will be still be the same force next season without Steven Gerrard. The club and management have more than enough time to prepare for his departure and the early signs from the team are encouraging ones.
There is no doubt that a player of Gerrard’s calibre departing the club will cause Liverpool some issues but it is now time for a new Liverpool side to take shape in the absence of their great captain.