Shaun: On Liverpool and Steven Gerrard

On Friday, I challenged Steven Gerrard to make a difference for Liverpool in their crucial penultimate game against Chelsea on Sunday. We all know how that went (Gerrard gifting a goal to Didier Drogba for the game winner.)

Drogbe + Blue = Gold

Chelsea is in pole position now to capture the title.

However…

Shaun himself challenged my comment. And as we are primed to drop an EPL Jumble on Tuesday. I’m reprinting Shaun’s commentary below to get us in the frame of mind for the end to the EPL season because after this week, we are 30 days out from what we’ve all been waiting for.

—————

He’s rescued Liverpool many many times, before and after 2005. Yesterday–against Madrid–he was all over the pitch making some key defensive tackles ( a couple of slips ), trying for shots, making some good and bad passes, taking all corners and running himself ragged (he was an attacking midfielder).

Woe is him?

His goal tally has certainly dipped this year but that has to do with other people scoring as well as not gelling with others on the pitch. He NEVER takes a game off. If he remains out of the picture its because a manager has said you must play on the left or somewhere out of position. For England he’s constantly drifting to the middle but then goes back to his position which can be a bit of barren area in football. One of his big flaws I believe is the same thing that plagued Rooney and Donovan in that he often tries to do to much. When he doesn’t and plays the position told off him he is accused of not trying…

Yesterday was a key example in that while Aquilani was very good and occasionally they had some lovely one twos, they were unfamiliar with each other, so the typical gerrard shot outside of the box never was hit with the timing from before.

I will agree that this season he has had a dip in form but to say he has not played with pride is ridiculous. After a step forward last season, Liverpool made several back this year and that has all to do with the manager and management. They sold a key component and replaced him with an injured player. They did not find a strike partner for Torres, let go of some key older players and did absolutely nothing to further their push for a premiership title. Gerrard wants one really badly and wants it with Liverpool, so he must be incredibly frustrated that the brass arn’t doing anything and if they are, are failing at pushing Liverpool into the top 4 which they want to believe they are part off, but frankly are not.

So who knows what Liverpool will do this weekend. It must be incredibly hard for Gerrard and Carragher to play their hearts out, so that their biggest rivals over take them in trophies. In 95, the same situation existed in which United needed a Liverpool win as well as their own to win the title. Liverpool could have lost or tied but did their part and won away from home against a Kenny Dalglish run Blackburn. United lost and therefore lost the title.

There are players, namely Babel who barely try at Liverpool but the rest, as good or as poor as they are, always put 100%. Leiva who has been ABUSED by fans and pundits alike, still works his ass off and has improved tremendously this year. Benayoun and Kuyt are tireless and the defense, a shadow of its former self, still works hard.

Liverpool have had of their most disappointing seasons in longer than possibly the oldest fan can remember. Their captain has been injured, had to play without his strike partner or a slew of others, had to deal with unstable owners, is playing out of his typical high standard form, a cold and in my opinion exhausted manager and now apparently his wife is sleeping with another football player. To accuse him of not playing with heart is possibly the last possible thing one can accuse him off.

Liverpool will play Chelsea exhausted and with nothing really to play for. They had such high expectations and didn’t come close to reaching any of them. Their future is in doubt as they are being sold, manager is hopefully leaving and possibly taking a major part of their spine with them. They will bounce back. Who knows when? but they will.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Wilson on 2010/05/02 at 9:54 PM

    Gerrard can do it all, but he can’t deliver all the passes up to Torres and Kuyt. Think of Brazil and their great 9 Ronaldo. He scored a lot of goals. He got many opportunities to score by the hard work of 10 men to get him an attempt on goal. Steven Gerrard can make a crucial play and a smart play for only 1/10 of the field.

    Reply

    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/05/02 at 10:18 PM

      I will say that the weakest part of Gerrards game is his passing. For every spectacular defense splitting pass he makes (which he does do), 6-7 do not connect. Alonso on other hand was much more successful and also knew when to make that pass and when not too.

      Matt – I stand by what i said. He made a dreadful mistake which gifted Chelsea a goal but it wasn’t due to lack of heart or not playing for pride which is what you suggested. It was a bad play.

      Reply

      • Posted by Berg on 2010/05/03 at 9:54 AM

        You’re on the mark here. Gerrard will make the fantastic little flicks and through balls that make you forget the miscues, but they’re there. Losing Alonso really compounds it. Lucas gets unfairly criticized at times so I’m hesitant to say anything, but it seems the majority of his passes are lateral or back. Having a great distributer like Alonso playing next to a guy like Gerrard was just perfect and it’s really unfortunate that the tandem was split up.

        Incredibly tough year to be a fan of the Reds, I hope they can get it sorted. Rumors in the football world are always rampant, but it worries me to hear the possible sale of guys like Kuyt and Benayoun. For me, those are glue guys who play hard (Kuyt especially) no matter what the situation.

        Reply

  2. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/05/03 at 7:36 AM

    I think we all know that the problem at Liverpool is that their squad isn’t good enough, which puts extra pressure on the few players in the team who are very good. First, because of lack of depth, players are not getting rotated or getting an occasional week off, so little niggles that occur in a contact sport never get the chance to settle down properly. Second, Gerrard’s performance this year, which he has admitted himself, haven’t been good enough. Already said that replacements aren’t up to scratch and also, is Gerrard too big at Liverpool where the manager cannot drop him because of patchy form? It will be interesting to see if Capello replaces Gerrard with Milner, Downing or Young. It’s a tricky one because we pretty much had an impeccable WCQ campaign and we scoring goals for fun, but on current form he deserves to be on the bench.

    Regarding Gerrard’s passing ability, I think it has always been a little bit of a myth that he was brilliant. Remember, a few seasons ago, Liverpool had Owen, and when he was fit, he would latch on to anything played over the top or even through the middle. It wasn’t that the pass was exceptionally good, it was that Owen was bloody quick – so said pass didn’t have to be fantastic. But Gerrard still got the plaudits from the match commentators about a defence-splittling pass. I am not saying he’s bad, but he was put on a sugar pedestal and since Owen’s departure, it’s been crumbling away, and what we are seeing is his true passing ability – good, but what you’d expect from an international player. But he’s no Hoddle or Platini, let me make that 100% clear.

    The back pass wasn’t the first time he’s done that in a high profile game. Remember Euro 2004? Sometimes you have to question his awareness, concentration and decision making. You cannot gift goal like this if you want to win anything. At the top top level, it really can be the difference between winning and losing.

    Reply

    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/05/03 at 8:17 AM

      agreed George…though 04 was six years ago, so a gaff like that every 6 years i can deal with (considering all you get in return), plus if he was surrounded with more gifted players as he is with the England squad he might not try and do everything and be in a position to make such a crap pass…He’s not Rio, whose an excellent defender but he is makes one terrible decision a game…thankfully he has Vidic!

      Vis a vis his spot in the England 11. I think Milner is really his only threat right now and back pass aside is coming into form the past month or so. Capello is only concerned about winning and not about playing politics so he will do what he feels is best. Gerrard will understand.

      Reply

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