A new groin. Literally. Well, whatever, that’s what Steven Gerrard said. The Liverpool captain played only 24 matches last season in all competitions, missing about half the season due to that groin injury that always seems to come up and haunt him to various degrees of severity.
I had a talk about Gerrard the other day with my brother. It was more about Liverpool’s future and purchasing Jordan Henderson and what that meant about how the midfield will look next season. My brother is a huge Liverpool fan and the he’s mostly happy about the fact that Aquilani won’t be a part of the setup at Anfield next season. He won’t be at Juventus either, but that’s a whole different matter.
Well, from player to player and position to position (my brother, for some reason, really likes Lucas) we got to Gerrard. My perception of the man Liverpool fans rank among their two greatest ever (along with Dalglish) is that he’s done. Well not done as in retiring, but I don’t believe he can be as effective as he was in 2009. The other opinion is that Gerrard is going to be fine if his mood is one the cheerier side. Do explain I said –
The 2009-2010 season was hugely depressing to everyone involved with the club. The ownership struggles, the injuries to Torres, the failure in the Champions League and the inability to build on the very successful 2008-2009 campaign. Gerrard is an amazing talent, a very versatile player who grew from a bulldogish type midfielder to almost of second striker role, leading him to score 24 goals in 2008-2009. Still, his will and the confidence he always casts on his teammates is his greatest asset. Was, that is. There were glimpses of this ‘ability’ in 2009-2010 and it barley appeared in 2010-2011, even when healthy.
Now, with new cash influx, with the old-new manager that’s respected and adores across the charts and the relatively successful 2011 part to last season, the mood should be much brighter at Anfield in 2011-2012, and the expectations will come with that optimistic mood. Gerrard got pushed back as Raul Meireles took over the role of the creative/attacking midfielder. Gerrard played behind, on the same line of Lucas. You have to be passionate, motivated to succeed in that position, especially when you’re not as physically capable as you were before. Gerrard didn’t look that way too many times, excluding the big win over Manchester United.
And that’s the big question towards next season – how motivated, how happy will Gerrard be entering the new season. He says he hopes he’ll be fitter than ever before come August, and will mention the talk of feeling like he has a new groin since the operation. Liverpool coaches like Steve Clarke are relishing the opportunity to have thee best English player of the last decade (in my opinion and their’s) back healthy and in fighting form. We’ll know soon enough how much football and fire the 31 year old has left in him.