Steven Gerrard has come under a lot of pressure this season, but his performance last weekend should be enough to show the doubters just why he should be in the Liverpool team for a few more seasons to come. Gerrard has done so much for this football club since his debut 15 years ago.
But do not take me for being sentimental, Gerrard is in this team because he can still contribute a lot to the style of play that Brendan Rodgers has brought to this football club. Gerrard in fact is instrumental to the way that Liverpool go forward now, and his passing range gives us a different level that no other team has.
Unfortunately, teams have realised just how important he is and have decided to man mark Steven Gerrard out of the game by putting one or sometimes even two men on him. What Aston Villa and West Ham have done recently, is exactly what you should expect from teams this season.
Gabby Agbonlahor’s sole purpose in the game was to watch Steven Gerrard and stop him from being able to dictate play. He did that job brilliantly and Villa came away with the 3 points, whilst Stewart Downing did a similar job in the defeat at Upton Park.
How you can blame Steven Gerrard for being marked every single step of the way in a game, is very hard to understand from my point of view.
Gerrard just does not have the legs to escape a marker any more, and the rest of the midfield has to take the attention away from him because if they do Gerrard will make a big impact.
We saw this against Everton last weekend. Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson produced two very energetic performances and left Everton with a real problem when we came forward. For a large period of the game Gerrard was in control of the momentum of the game, and was a massive influence on our play. He was making tackles, spraying passes and producing some outstanding crosses at times.
Of course many will say that it was the derby so you would expect him to produce that sort of display. To that I say, absolute rubbish. Everton are a very good team and James McCarthy and Gareth Barry are one of the best midfield partnerships in the league and Gerrard made them look silly.
At the age of 34, what player is actually able to do that for a large period of a game? I can only name two, Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard.
Brendan Rodgers sums this up brilliantly “The biggest credit you can give to Stevie is that at 34 years of age, at this level, he is being man marked. I think in a couple of the games that has just showed you the level and influence that he still has on this team.”
We haven’t even mentioned the important goals he has scored for the club this season. Netting the crucial penalty against Ludogorets in the last minute will no doubt prove to be a very important goal in our Champions League campaign, the other was the great free-kick he netted against Everton on Saturday. When everybody else was struggling to make headway in the game. The captain stepped up to take the responsibility and the execution was pure class. He left a quality keeper in Tim Howard with no chance.
After what many would consider to be a nightmare few months Steven Gerrard, with the weight of the club on his shoulders, once again he has really stepped up for the club when it matters this season.
He is our Captain, our leader and the best player I have seen grace the LFC shirt.