He has great passing ability, can tackle and scores goals, but most importantly he gives the players around him confidence and belief. You can’t learn that ai??i?? players like him are just born with that presence.

ai??i?? Zinedine Zidane on Steven Gerrard

  • Champions League vs. Olympiakos (2004)
  • Champions League Final vs. AC Milan (2005)
  • FA Cup Final vs. West Ham (2006)
  • Europa League vs. Napoli (2010)
  • Premier League vs. Everton (2012)

Just a few matches to highlight what Steven Gerrard has been doing for over a decade. ai??i?? win matches single-handedly for Liverpool. Gerrard has been the driving force behind every major success Liverpool have had in recent memory.

The boy from Whiston has come a long way to establish himself as one of Liverpoolai??i??s best ever players. Lung bursting runs, 30 yard piledrivers and last-ditch tackles are what weai??i??ve come to see and expect of Steven Gerrard over the better part of a decade.

Gerrardai??i??s best year as a footballer was when he played as a second striker in the 4-2-3-1 system used by Rafael Benitez in 2008. Gerrard was able to use his pace and shooting to devastating effect as he notched up 24 goals in that season – quite a phenomenal achievement for any striker let alone a midfielder.

The Liverpool captain had an almost telepathic understanding with his strike partner Fernando Torres and was able to set him up on several occasions. Gerrard was directly involved in 41 of 107 goals scored by Liverpool in the 2008-09 season and was by far the most influential player in the side.

Gerrard

Gerrard

Unstoppable on his day!

Gerrard

However much of Gerrardai??i??s success could be attributed to the fact that he had a top class midfield consisting of Mascherano and Alonso behind him. The stability provided by the duo allowed Gerrard to roam freely and wreak havoc on the opposition defenses.

The departure of Alonso and then Mascherano in the following years meant that Gerrard had to slot back in midfield and play a deeper role. Often criticized for his positional indiscipline and tendency to play the “Hollywood ball” too often, Gerrard was not able to have the same effect on the side as earlier. Injuries also played a big part as Liverpoolai??i??s talisman was only able to feature in 49 games since the 2010 season. Liverpool slumped from being a title challenging team to a mid-table team in this period.

Age and persistent injuries have meant that Gerrard no longer possesses the astonishing physical gifts, which made him such an immense influence in the side. He had to undergo a complete reconstruction of his groin in 2011, which has resulted in him losing much of his pace and shooting ability from long-range.

During this period Gerrard has remodeled himself as a deep-lying play-maker and this was most evident in the recently concluded Euro 2012 Championship. Displaying excellent tactical awareness and positional discipline, Gerrard was the standout player in an average English side. Gerrard made more tackles and played more passes than any other player in the England team and was rewarded with a position in the Euro 2012 “All-Star” squad ai??i?? the only Englishman to have made the list.

Brendan Rodgers must have been watching his with keen interest and might be left with a bit of a conundrum on where to play his star man in his preferred 4-3-3 formation. Gerrardai??i??s versatility has often meant that he has been shuttled around all over the pitch under different managers.

As in earlier cases, Gerrard could be used in multiple positions in Brendan Rodgersai??i?? Liverpool side for the upcoming season ai??i?? as a deep-lying play-maker, as a central attacking midfielder or as a right forward. THT analyses the pros and cons of each position.

Gerrard as a Deep Lying Play-maker

At Swansea, Brendan Rodgers employed two central midfielders with the task of maintaining possession. Britton was assigned with the holding role and Allen played as the man who would initiate attacks. The standout feature of the two was how they dictated the tempo of the game and maintained a very high pass completion rate. Both players played short passes and pressed the opposition when they were without the ball.

Euro 2012 has proved that Gerrard can excel when played as a deep-lying play-maker. The England captain has been far more disciplined than his earlier days and was never caught out of position throughout the tournament. Criticism has often been leveled at him for being too much of a maverick but off late he has shown great maturity in controlling the game.

Brendan Rodgers will be looking to make use of Gerrardai??i??s excellent passing range and tackling ability in the center of the park. A player of Gerrardai??i??s quality should not have any problems adapting to Rodgersai??i?? brand of football and with Lucas as his partner, Liverpoolai??i??s midfield will look strong.

Gerrard

Gerrard

Gerrardai??i??s runs from the deep like in his stunning hat-trick against Everton would be an additional attacking threat for the opposition and could prove to be vital in matches where Liverpool struggle to break the opposition down. Playing in central midfield, Gerrard will also be allowed the license to drift wide on occasions to deliver crosses from the right. Gerrardai??i??s set piece delivery is exceptional and his crosses from the deep would certainly benefit the likes of Andy Carroll.

However, being in the teamai??i??s engine room, Gerrard would have to cover a lot of ground and that could lead to fatigue and more injuries. The high intensity nature of Gerrardai??i??s game could prove to be counter-productive for him in the long run. Rodgerai??i??s brand of tiki-taka would mean that the central midfielders would have to be constantly mobile, pressing the opposition when playing without the ball and linking up with the forwards whenever possible. Gerrard seems to be ideal for the job but Rodgers would have to monitor his fatigue levels closely. His responsibilities at central midfield would probably be shared with Jordan Henderson who could flourish in this system.

Gerrard as an Attacking Midfielder

Gerrardai??i??s most successful season individually came when playing as an attacking midfielder/supporting striker and he could still make an impact when played in this position. In the 08-09 season, Gerrard played several through balls which Torres took full advantage of. He could replicate the same with Suarez. He could also benefit from knockdowns by Andy Carroll and help himself to some goals. Gerrard is a marquee attacking weapon for Liverpool and it would make sense to have him as close to goal as possible.

Playing further forward would also absolve himself of some of the defensive responsibilities of a central midfielder. Gerrardai??i??s ball winning ability could also be utilized effectively higher up the pitch to create more attacking opportunities for the team and it would also be physically less demanding for the Liverpool captain.

Gerrard

Gerrard

However, with Carroll playing in the side, Gerrard would find it quite redundant to play balls through the middle since the Geordie does not have the pace to latch onto them. Suarez, on the other hand often tends to drop deep himself to get the ball and the two could often find themselves tripping over each otherai??i??s shoelaces.

Also, injuries have meant that he is no longer as lethal outside the penalty area as earlier. The trademark thunderbolts from outside the box have disappeared and Gerrard no longer has that burst of acceleration which could leave defenders chasing shadows as he storms into the penalty area

Brendan Rodgers realizes this and has been in the market for an attacking midfielder and a possible transfer for Gaston Ramirez has hit the news recently. The likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson could also take up this important role in the team.

Gerrard as a Right Forward

Gerrard has not been used regularly on the right since 2005-06. He had performed brilliantly for Rafael Benitez and had scored 23 goals that season. Gerrard vision and crossing ability would be fully utilized if he were to play in this position. His natural tendency to drift into the penalty area would also mean that he would regularly be getting into goal scoring positions. Liverpool has sorely lacked in the goals department in the previous season and Brendan Rodgers could choose to address that by playing the captain out wide.

Dirk Kuyt and Jordan Henderson have been largely ineffective in the previous season when employed on the right and Gerrard would definitely be a more potent attacking option in comparison. Playing as a right forward would allow Gerrard to deliver quality balls in for Carroll to attack and he would not need to be as positionally disciplined as when playing at the center of the park.

Liverpool

Liverpool

However, playing on the right would take a considerable physical toll on the captain. Gerrard also does not have the pace to consistently beat modern full backs who are generally very quick. In case of Johnson making overlapping runs, Gerrard would also need to track back in order to ensure that the defense is not compromised. At 32, Gerrard himself would not relish the prospect of playing out wide on a consistent basis. Keeping in mind his past injury record Brendan Rodgers would probably only employ him there as a contingency measure.

The Verdict

Gerrard still has a lot to offer to this Liverpool team and Rodgers would most likely use him in a central midfield role as a partner to Lucas. He may also get the occasional game playing as an attacking midfielder. However age and injury concerns mean that Brendan Rodgers must be careful not to be over reliant on him and overuse him during the course of the season. A hectic Euro means that he will begin his pre-season late and could take time to get back to peak fitness levels.

Liverpool plays in the Europa League this season and if the team does well then they could be playing over 70 games in the season. Keeping Gerrard fit would be of prime importance to ensure Liverpool are in a competitive position in the race for Champions League qualification. Captain Fantastic would count himself as one of Europeai??i??s elite and would be still be key to his team playing in Europeai??i??s elite competition.

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7 Responses to “Gerrard – II: How Does He Fit Into The New Liverpool?”

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  1. Carl Simmons says:

    I like the idea of playing Steven G, as the deep lying play maker.

    What about this for an idea.

    Reina
    Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
    Lucas
    Gerrard, Gaston R
    Adam J, Carrol or (Borini), Suarez

    2 or 3 changes could see a very competitive team in the EPL

  2. Chris says:

    Personally i believe stevie g can still put a shift in which ever role he plays but i think to keep him going to prolong his carear we should think of moulding him into the holding role position, alonso never had pace, and gerrard is going to lose the pace he had but i think with his technical ability and reading of the game through experience he will still be able to do a job as a holding midfielder and we can keep him till hes 35/36, like scholes and giggs

  3. Omar says:

    A lot depends on whether or not we can secure Ramirez, if we do Gerrard will have to be a deep-lying playmaker, if we do not then he should be an Attacking midfielder. Hopefully with someone with a bit more pace than Carroll up top to latch onto the through balls. We also need a LW.

  4. red army ynwa says:

    nice article sreyon .i personally wud think rodger wud go wid deep play maker role for him and i feel aqualani or joe cole wud be perfect for cam role on a regualr basis .gerrard has great vision and he can see forwards from distance as well . he cud swap position in the middle of the game too wid CAM. he is a perfect player who can play in many postions and if he remains fit for the whole season we can see how destructive for an opponent he can be.

  5. Clyde says:

    For f**k’s sake Sreyon, it’s the same old Liverpool. No fitting in required for Gerrard. Neither would it be required of the donkey (Carroll), the meek lamb (Henderson), the mules (Downing & Adam) and the jackasses (Carragher & Lucas).

  6. evan says:

    just buy:
    1. adam johnson
    2. gaston ramires
    3. danny sturidge

    formation 4-2-1-3 or 4-3-3:

    reina
    johnson-skrtel-agger-jose enrique
    charlie adam-lucas
    gerrad
    adam johnson-sturidgge-luis suarez

    subsitution:doni-coates-kelly-gaston ramirez-bellamy,downing-aquilani,carrol

  7. TheEffect says:

    Wat a great article i wld prefer in central midfielding he is good.Hopefully we sign a natural attacking midfielder,a natural striker and a natural winger.I m saying natural because we hev to get the people with the right attributes nt to improvise.