Steven Gerrard answered his critics in the best possible fashion last night by scoring the winner at Leicester. Plenty of supporters and pundits had bemoaned the former England captain’s recent form, and reports had also suggested that Gerrard would be allowed to leave Anfield in the summer.
Gerrard was rested for Liverpool’s weekend win over Stoke, hinting that he and Brendan Rodgers had had a bust-up, but he reutrned to his former self to lift his side to a much needed victory.
It would be ludicrous to think Gerrard could play for another team after spending his entire career with the Merseysiders, and here are just three reasons why they need to keep their captain at the club.
Goals – and important ones too!
Like last night, Gerrard has a knack of popping up to score crucial goals at the right time. He has a list of strikes you can categorise and ‘timely’ as long as your arm – think Istanbul, the 2006 FA Cup Final and Olympiacos at home (what a hit son!), or times when he’s bailed Liverpool out of trouble. Although most of his recent strikes are restricted to the penalty spot, Gerrard is able to handle the pressure and stick them away. Furthermore, with Liverpool so goal-shy at the moment, a Gerrard special from 25 yards could be the recipe for grinding out a result away from home.
Reds are a team lacking leaders
Liverpool showed little backbone after taking the lead against Crystal Palace, and whilst Gerrard has to take the majority of the blame, he must be looking in awe at some of his team mates. With the experienced Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren and Glen Johnson at the back, Liverpool crumbled and conceded three to a side unable to seriously trouble Aston Villa two weeks later! Jordan Henderson can claim to be a leader but his form has been well shy of his best this season, and Gerrard needs someone to help him drag this squad through the mire. Losing Gerrard leaves a huge gap in the midfield and in the dressing room.
Rodgers will help him in the transfer window
Not sure if anyone else can see this but Gerrard isn’t really taking to his deeper position like everyone expected. Defensive midfielders are so crucial to the modern game that even some physical strength in one area is a major asset. Apart from the defence, Liverpool are struggling in that department, and Mario Balotelli can’t do it on his own. Rodgers prefers silky, diminutive players, but buying a hulking great central midfielder will shore up Liverpool like Patrick Vieira did to Arsenal back in the days when they were dominant. Whether Gerrard plays as a sweeper, pivot or further forwards, he’ll have the freedom to start play without worrying about winning possession or tracking back into his own half.