Is this really it? Is Steven Gerrard’s greatness really over? Is this THE injury, another groin injury, another one in a long line that has plagued him this year and throughout his career to a certain degree? I hope not. I really really hope not. I’m not very optimistic…
Steven Gerrard has been with the Liverpool senior squad since the 1998-1999 season. He’s been through quite a few injuries during his career at Anfield – starting with back injuries that were caused by accelerated growth and excessive players during his schoolboy years and now the groin injuries that have come back time and time again to haunt him. He played only 21 league games this year in the Premier League and to be honest, I don’t remember one in which he really impressed me. I won’t say Liverpool looked better without him cause that’s not true, but his ability to affect the game and force himself on it, especially when attacking, has severely diminished.
It began last season, the depressing 2009-2010 season, Rafa Benitez’ major blunder. Gerrard dropped from 9 goals to 16. I though it had to do with a depression, lack of motivation and the rift with the manager. Gerrard also had that whole trial thing in the 2009 summer after beating up on a DJ with his mates. That didn’t help him and Liverpool.
I remember having talks about him with people – is he getting old or just going through the bends? A new manager was bound to help him, right? Hodgson was a disaster at Anfield. I’m not sure Dalglish is the messiah, but the way the team looks and feels is completely different – there’s passion, there’s intensity, there’s belief. Gerrard plays a lot more like his early days, during the early 00’s, right in the middle of the park. The man has switched so many positions during his career – from right midfielder to defensive midfielder to 50-50, on the left (especially for England) and even something of a supporting striker during 2007-2009, enjoying the best period of his career with a fruitful partnership alongside Fernando Torres.
That tandem, entering last season, looked ready to take on the Premier League title finally. It blew up. This season? It looked plain depressing. Gerrard just doesn’t have the ferocity in him anymore. Maybe it’s the injury that slowed him down, made him softer. If he plays in the middle, I want to see him laying down people, not thinking about sliding or not. That wasn’t the case most of the time. Yes, there were small, bright, ray of lights bursting through. Both of his league matches against Manchester United (lets forget about the FA Cup red card and Howard Webb) made it clear the lad has tons of football left in him.
Liverpool are going through a mega injury crisis – Agger, Glen Johnson, Martin Kelly and now Gerrard (again). I don’t know if they’ll have enough depth to make a final push for European qualification. It doesn’t really matter. The minds are getting geared up for the summer and to see how much money is spent and on who, gearing up for what should be a very promising 2011-2012 campaign. I really hope I see Stevie G in great form when the season kicks off in August. Even Decent form will be fine by me. Just don’t finish your career on/off the injured list. You deserve better.