Date: 11th September 2009 at 3:35am
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Just a few brief points about our skipper that I think are under reported and often just completely ignored.

1.  While I think we can all agree we love Stevie in his advanced role when he’s making runs and pinpoint passes, I think we also need to accept the fact that just because he excels in that role doesn’t mean he should remain there exclusively.

I see him all too often heavily marked to the point that he seems disinterested.  The problem here is that while waiting to break down the pitch towards the opponent’s goal, he is far too stationary.  Without the defensive responsibilities he was once used to, I think he finds himself wondering just what to do with himself.  He is not a natural supporting striker after all, he is one of the best central midfielders in the world being pushed forward due to a lack of quality in forward positions.

With Aquilani I think perhaps we have found the solution to this problem that Rafa has been making the best of.  Unlike with Lucas or even Alonso, here our captain will find someone equally willing to lead the charge and do so at a high tempo.  I have seen a good bit of our new midfielder in Serie A, and he is nothing if not lightning quick going forward.

This will allow Gerrard to do what he does best.  Follow the play, allow the defenders to stretch and over commit themselves and then grab himself a slice of room and slot that laid back pass from touchline into the corner or the roof of the net.  When he is not forced to be the centerpiece of the move, he will find many more opportunities to put past the opposition keeper.

It may be hard to imagine, but his goal rate may actually increase.

2.  Speaking of increasing his goal rate, does anyone else think we’re insane for having him take our corner kicks?  No offense to Steven but they have been poor not just of late but for the past several seasons.   This is besides the fact that he is a terrific header of the ball and would serve us far better in the box on set pieces unless he is having a go himself.

Just something that irks me every match.


4 responses to “Getting the Best Out of Gerrard”

  1. burt says:

    All in all spot on. When Gez comes up against Essien, Muamba, reo coker, mikel, or any other decent defensive mid he gets taken out of the game. Let’s not forget though that he has only played second striker (full time) for ONE SEASON. By all accounts he has taken to playing up front like a duck to water. With another season or two playing in this role he’ll be untouchable. In this time he will have learnt when and how to make runs effectively and will undoubtedly retire a true attacking great.

    THE BOY CAN’T TAKE A CORNER. HE’S ALMOST AS BAD WITH FREE KICKS. we have never EVER replaced Molby and Barnes at set pieces. It would be nice if we could sign a specialist.

  2. benjamin says:

    I agree that he has taken to it well, but then he did well out on the right flank as well. He is an extremely versatile player, I’d just like to see us let him loose on the defensive and set piece side of the game. That said, I don’t think anything really needs to change against the lesser sides. It is really only against opposition such as you listed that this becomes an issue.

  3. MoKo says:

    I agree with you that when faced with good man marking Gerrard disappears from the game. i don’t think that should be viewed as a deficiency in his game. It happens to all players in the position. The point you make tho is that a team that sacrifices a player in order to track Gerrard should be more susceptible.

    To man mark Gerrard you either sacrifice a central midfielder or a second striker. The space created should be filled by our central mid (Aquilani or Alonso last season). One thing we didn’t get out of Alonso was a midfield goal threat. Against the teams who got draws at Anfield last season Gerrard would be man marked. But Alonso could not get forward enough to take advantage. and even when he did he would not pose a serious threat on goal either in assists or goals.

    We will miss Alonso in the really tough games where we are not in control of the tempo. But I don’t think we’ll miss him against the Burnley’s and Stokes’ of this League. Aquilani will be a goal threat particularly with his final ball. He is exceptional in that area of play and he will chip in with long range goals too. With that threat teams will have to think twice about man marking Gerrard because they may find Liverpool even more effective when faced with that tactic.

    We have to hope that in tight games Aquilani or Lucas or who ever is deployed in central mid will have the steel to be both destructive and constructive for the cause.

    Only time will tell…


  4. benjamin says:

    Exactly right. Leaving him further back down the pitch allows that extra man to be stretched away from his goal rather than be right on top of it as well. With the speed and strength Gerrard can put into a run if he looks away for even an instant could be enough springing forward.
    If you notice he is nearly always at his best when well in stride as opposed to collecting it at his feet and then starting up.
    Again though, all in all I think it’s a simple lack of the funds to raised the skill players up front that we need.
    As far as the set pieces and creativity in the attacking third go, one player I’m really disappointed we’ve not been interested in is Dario Srna with Shaktar/Croatia. His free kicks are second to none and he is fast/powerful, good on the attack and tracking back to defend.
    Rafa if you’re reading go talk to Shaktar!