An ode to Steven Gerrard and the steps Liverpool need to take to offset his departure
The year 2015 has got off to the worst possible start for Liverpool fans all over the world with the announcement that Kop icon and legend Steven Gerrard will be leaving the club when his contract expires at the end of the season. It’s a dreadful piece of news that every Kopite knew they would have to hear someday, but the fact that it has come so soon and unexpectedly, has sent shockwaves among Liverpool fans.
Words cannot express the impact he has had during his 17 years as a professional footballer at the club. He has and will always be an inspiration for thousands and thousands of young kids hoping to make it as a footballer.
When asked about Gerrard, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said, “In an era where the term Legend has been overused, the word doesn’t do this great man justice.” The Liverpool captain has carried the hopes of an entire city and millions of Liverpool fans all over the world on his shoulders for over a decade now. Gerrard or “Stevie G” as he is fondly called by his fans, is the reason why many kids like me started watching football in the first place.
He has the given term loyalty a whole new meaning by staying loyal to his boyhood club. He stayed while many of his team-mates left for greener pastures. For many people, the terms Gerrard and Liverpool are synonymous. Premier League football and Liverpool without Steven Gerrard is something that people might take a long time to get used to.
With Carragher retiring in the summer of 2013, and Suarez leaving in the summer of 2014 and now Gerrard leaving in the summer of 2015, Liverpool have arguably lost their three most influential players in the last three years. The midfielder will leave a pair of boots that will be really hard to fit into, but it’s very important for the football club to move forward and look at the positives from this move.
Let’s take a look at some of the positives/ steps Liverpool can/ need to take from Gerrard’s departure:
Jordan Henderson taking over as the new captain
Unless Brendan Rodgers has a big change of heart in these six months until Gerrard’s departure, Jordan Henderson would be expected to succeed Gerrard as the captain of the Liverpool Football Club. His work ethic, determination, and passion have certainly made him a fan favourite and he is an individual who loves to lead from the front.
He might not be able to treat the Kop to a 70 yard cross-field pass like Gerrard does on most match days, but what he lacks in skill he makes up in endeavor and passion. Henderson is a born leader and has been the vice-captain of this club for 6 months now. His leadership skills were there for all to see when he absolutely blasted Gerrard for not taking the ball to the corner flag and wasting time in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over West Brom at Anfield.
Henderson is the ideal replacement for Gerrard and he would definitely go on to a become a great leader and player like Gerrard.
Increased dynamism in midfield
The 3-4-3 system that Brendan Rodgers has implemented has seen him prefer Gerrard and Lucas in the midfield. The duo might have made Liverpool defensively stable but made the Liverpool midfield very static and slowed down the general gameplay. The fans were given a glimpse of life could be without Gerrard when he was rested in their recent 4-1 home win against Swansea.
Henderson was unleashed in that central role and he excelled. Liverpool played some of their best football this season and showed how dynamic their football and midfield can be in the absence of Gerrard. Another example of this is last season’s trip to Spurs, when Liverpool handed out a 5-0 thrashing to Spurs, which was another match in which Henderson pulled the strings in midfield in the absence of Steven Gerrard.
Suitable replacement for a world-class player
Gerrard the player will need to be replaced soon if Liverpool are to keep moving in the right direction. He is a world-class captain and legend will probably remain irreplaceable forever.
The most obvious choice to replace Gerrard within the club would be Henderson. Henderson has already got 3 goals and 5 assists to his name this season and could turn out to be a worthy successor to Gerrard in the long run, both as a player and captain.
Emre Can is another midfielder with a lot of potential. He is big, strong and very much suited to the Premier League. The fact that Joachim Low wants to get him into the German set-up speaks volumes of the young guy’s talent. Another one tipped to emulate Gerrard is 17 year old Jordan Rossiter. He is more of a sentimental choice, but he definitely has the potential to follow in the footsteps of his idol.
Brendan Rodgers has gone on record and said that he will be looking for a proven talent to replace the Liverpool captain. This could be exciting news for Liverpool fans. Gerrard moving on would definitely clear up a lot of wages and this could, hopefully, be used in bringing a top class talent to Anfield.
When Gerrard made his debut for Liverpool, he was a young kid looking to go on and play for his boyhood club and maybe captain the club someday. Six months from now, he will depart as the greatest player to ever wear the famous red of Liverpool.
The footballing world is truly honoured and lucky to have watched this class act in action for nearly 17 years. Thank you for the lovely memories Stevie G.
You Will Never Walk Alone.