Last season was somewhat of a Renessaince for Steven Gerrard. Fit again, scoring again, happy again. Sort of. With Liverpool finishing only 7th, you can’t be too excited about what’s happened. And yet the Liverpool captain sees it as a foundation for a later-career bloom, just when everyone thought that his persistent groin injuries will be ending it on a flat note, prematurely.
After playing a total of 39 league matches in the previous two seasons, Gerrard found himself playing every minute of every match, until their chances of finding a spot in Europe evaporated. Only then, after 36 matches and 9 league goals did Gerrard decide to start thinking about the future, and have himself a surgery on his shoulder. Like last season, he thinks he hasn’t been more fit in a very long time, and he’s 33.
The operation on his groin and his new preseason fitness program from Ryland Morgans over the last couple of summer might have saved his career. But it wasn’t just about keeping him fit enough to play. It’s about Gerrard still being a huge influence on the pitch for a club that in the past suffered from being too reliant on his abilities.
Unless something dramatic happens over the next couple of seasons, Gerrard is going to be remembered as somewhat of a missed potential. Not his abilities and goals – he did all he could for Liverpool. But he had a chance to play for bigger clubs, with better players around him, and win more titles than he did, mainly a league championship. That one thing missing on his impressive CV.
When you move into the latter stages of your career, you want to cherish every moment and make the most of it. So while I’ve still got a couple of years left – and maybe a few more after that, who knows? – I want to ensure I make the most of it. For me to do that, it’s about winning and trying to add a couple more medals to what I’ve already got, and also to try to leave this club in a healthy position – and that will be in the Champions League. That’s the challenge for me.
Are there better midfielders at the moment than Steven Gerrard? Quite a few around Europe, but none of them mean so much to the team they’re currently on, and none of them are playing for Liverpool. There have been questions about Rodgers’ insistence to keep him in the lineup last season, but with Joe Allen not fitting in early on and Jonjo Shelvey not turning out to be the successor, those questions soon vanished.
It’s hard to see Liverpool winning a championship in the few years Gerrard has left. If they haven’t been able to for the last 23 years, why should it happen now, especially when they’re not trying to compete with the spending o Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea. But bringing back Liverpool to a top 4 status might be enough to make Gerrard feel satisfied about the legacy he’s leaving behind. For now, it’s still too early to talk about his past days, when it seems there are still stuff for him to achieve in the present.