4 Reasons Why Liverpool Are A Better Side Without Their Legendary Captain In The Starting XI

Steven Gerrard cupped his ears as he put his Liverpool side ahead with a sublime free-kick in a fixture he knows all too well. While the quality from a Stevie G dead-ball has never been in question it was the quality in the 34 year old overall play that has been criticised by one and all over the last few weeks. While the former England skipper hasn’t hit the heights of last season ever since that dramatic slip against Chelsea. It obviously must’ve weighed him down terribly over the entire summer and the dismal performance at the World Cup didn’t help his cause either. Back in Liverpool Red, normal service was supposed to be restored as Reds’ fans expected their skipper to slot back effortlessly into his quarter-back position of last year, only this time he has been caught out far too often.

Being man-marked out of the game, the Liverpool skipper’s utility as the base of the midfield diamond as been brought up in many debates. Never a defensive minded player, it is his defensive flaws that have been highlighted over the start of this season. While redemption of sorts was achieved by the near-perfect free-kick in the derby, the question Brendan Rodgers’ face in the not-so-distant future is whether or not to drop his captain when the likes of young Emre Can and hard-working Joe Allen return to full fitness.

Stevie G was never brought up to be a defensive midfielder. Even when he did operate in that position last season, he had the likes of Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen doing all the dirty work for him. Still the best passer of a football in the squad, unlike last season there is no Luis Suarez or Daniel Sturridge, for now, to make up for defensive errors by banging in the goals at the other end. While one may argue that the Huyton-born midfielder has carried Liverpool through the last decade, it would only be fair to say that Liverpool are a better side with the skipper not in the starting line-up.

Here is a bunch of reasons why:-

  1. Age
    While there’s no question that the skipper still has a lot to offer, its about time that Rodgers’ starts shielding his skipper and blooding in new talent as and when he can. In more relevant terms, the experience Stevie brings to the side is incomparable, hence, if Brendan Rodgers’ can manage his squad in a way where his skipper plays crucial games like the ones in the Champions League while letting the likes of Emre Can settle into English Football simultaneously it would be great for the squad and the fans.
  2. Defensive Frailties
    While Rodgers’ has gone out on a limb to rectify his leaky defence this summer, from the looks of things he still hasn’t found a solution yet. What Emre Can offers is physicality and genuine defensive ability in midfield. With the young German’s defensive qualities shining forth during the last international break where he effortlessly slotted into the heart of defence for Germany.
  3. Work-rate
    Age has caught up with the skipper and there’s no denying that. He simply doesn’t possess the bursting pace to rip defences apart and track back at the same time. Emre Can on the other hand was second only to marathon-man Jordan Henderson in terms of average ground covered last season, is perfectly suited to the defensive midfield role. At 6 foot plus, Can is an imposing figure who is very comfortable with the ball at his feet. While he may not yet have the passing range of Gerrard he certainly has the ability to develop that.
  4. Super-sub
    Another option that would be exciting to watch if Brendan were to resort to would be using Stevie Gas an attacking midfielder in the latter stages of a game to open up defences much like how Frank Lampard is being used at Manchester City. Bryan Robson was Manchester United’s super sub for most parts of the season in which they won their first title under Sir Alex Ferguson. With 2 good feet, a deadly shot and good acceleration over short distances, the skipper still possesses what it takes to cut it as an attacking midfielder.

While Brendan Rodgers’ certainly has huge decisions to make once his injured stars are back, for now, Stevie G is still the best passer of a football on Merseyside and still one of the top midfielders around.

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