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Should Steven Gerrard still be considered an automatic starter?

RedJacko

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However much it kills me to start a topic based on our captains steady decline, I think its a question worth asking, before I continue I rate and respect what Gerrard has done for us other the past 15 years and for me is the greatest player to ever put on a Liverpool shirt.

Having watched Carra's interview after the game, and playing better than I thought he would have stepping straight into a game as big as this one, I was impressed with the way he handled himself and put it our there he understands he is not the player he once was and is 'doing a job for the team'. I think it is exemplary to say the least.

Our midfield three were poor today, Allen possibly had his worst game for us this season. We were overrun, outplayed, and beaten to almost every ball. Funnily enough it was only till we switched to 2 in the centre of midfield we actually looked like we wanted to know.

On to the topic in question, I don't know if Gerrard should be considered a shoe in for our midfield. I think Shelvey is breathing heavily down his neck for that midfield bursting role. I don't know if it is him getting slower with age, but his passing is not what it once was, his decision making isn't as fast, and his general movement seems second rate in comparison to opposition midfielders. It may be that better, younger, faster opposing midfielders are coming to England but Ramires and Chelseas attacking three done more or less what they wanted today. And when normally you would want a Liverpool player to grab the game by the scruff of its neck, that player was none existent.

Gerrard has gone on record as saying that he still believes he can play at the top of his game and he feels as fit as he ever has. And for me whilst he still says these things, out of respect, Brendan will always pick him because Gerrard thinks he can do it. Is it the name? I don't know, but it would be naive to say he is the player he once was and he still has the same influence in big games.

It was the first time in a long time I have spotted so many deficiencies in our midfield, is it an area that needs strengthening also? I think it does, even with Lucas' return I can';t see it being strong enough, at least for now.

Discuss.
 

jayrrardno8

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So who would you replace Gerrard with he has more ability in his big toe than most of our midfielders so he isnt having the best of seasons but would rather keep him in the team than not just cant name a player in our squad that is going to step up.
Also would cost a shit load of money to replace him.
Good luck with this thread.
 

RedJacko

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So who would you replace Gerrard with he has more ability in his big toe than most of our midfielders so he isnt having the best of seasons but would rather keep him in the team than not just cant name a player in our squad that is going to step up.
Also would cost a shit load of money to replace him.
Good luck with this thread.
Would cost a shit load of money to replace him? We are going to have to replace him at some point so you are saying we are going to have to spend a shit load of money at some point.

Gerrard hasn't been on top of his game for more than one season, it isn't just this season. A blind man could see that, theres being loyal and respectful to our captain, then theres being naive. I am raising the question, not creating a 'GERRARD OUT' campaign.
 

Aldini98

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After today, no. The odd moment but mostly not good. He was awful for Terry's goal, wandered away from the post, but Agger gets the Sky treatment.
 

SirBillShankly

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http://forums.thisisanfield.com/index.php?/topic/14893-steven-gerrard-201213/
 

MarkMcC

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While Shelvey has undoubted potential but in no way currently able to move Gerrard to the bench - anyway he is more of a Lampard than Gerrard. He combines so many skill sets into one player and although the current playing model could compensate for his loss it is so much MORE enhanced by having him in it. Sorry mate Gerrard when fit remains 1st choice midfielder. There is a time fast approaching where he may need replaced or phased out but I for one am not looking forward to it...
 

jayrrardno8

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Would cost a shit load of money to replace him? We are going to have to replace him at some point so you are saying we are going to have to spend a shit load of money at some point.

Gerrard hasn't been on top of his game for more than one season, it isn't just this season. A blind man could see that, theres being loyal and respectful to our captain, then theres being naive. I am raising the question, not creating a 'GERRARD OUT' campaign.
1 we havnt got shit load of money thats my first point.
2nd who deserves to replace him ? or who would you replace him with?
3rd i,ll back Stevie G every step of the way until he says his time is up 600 games and how many times he has pulled us out of the shit.
4 its not a suarez , gerrard team its another 9 players players that need to step up i know Gerrard its on top form but he needs the team to back him up.
 

ChicagoRed

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Of course, just have him be the deep lying playmaker spraying balls all over the place and have Sahin up or Shelvey if he's in.
 

Macedonian_Red

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Of course, just have him be the deep lying playmaker spraying balls all over the place and have Sahin up or Shelvey if he's in.
Now, that is a recipe for disaster ... Gerrard has never had the tactical discipline to perform the role of the deep-lying play-maker ... He has always been a top class attacking midfielder, but a pretty average central midfielder ...
 

wembley 65

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again looking at the past, there comes a time when even a legend has to be replaced, stevie has had a poor season so far, and i think it is getting harder and harder for him to rise to the extremely high standards he has set himself. as on lad has said perhaps now is the time to give shelvey his head to begin the take over of the midfield role that stevie has made his own for the past 12 seasons. it has happened many times in the history of our great club and now i think its time that we look for stevies successor.........................................................
 

5euros

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Of course, just have him be the deep lying playmaker spraying balls all over the place and have Sahin up or Shelvey if he's in.
You have to have vision and be able to pass to be a playmaker. I would have thought that was obvious.
 

Sweeting

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Strange to start this discussion after probably his best performance of the season.

I've been critical of him this year but credit where credit is due, he did well today. Allen and Sahin were off their game though.
 

OhYaBeauty

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I've actually written a bit about my feelings on Gerrard's decline in the Midfield Dynamic thread, but I'll edit and post a bit here.

We all know Steven's best position is as an attacking midfielder, Gerrard is just not playing as a number ten anymore. While that may be Rodgers' call, I don't think it is. We've heard it from Stevie himself that he wants to follow the example Scholes and Giggs have set by dropping deeper into the midfield, thereby saving his legs and prolonging his career. He's done it with England, becoming a (rather good) box to box midfielder. But when he plays deeper with England, he plays a very different style of football to the style we're trying to implement at Liverpool.

Stevie clearly hasn't played as the attacking midfielder very often under Rodgers. Most often, he's sat next to Allen trying to be Xabi Alonso while one of Suso, Sahin and Shelvey do the attacking midfield work ahead of him. You have to ask yourself why that is. Is it because they're better players than Stevie is? Absolutely not. Is it because they're better suited to the attacking midfielder role as Rodgers sees it?

That's the question we need to be asking ourselves. Does Rodgers think that Shelvey, Suso and Sahin are better suited to the attacking midfield role in his system, or does Stevie choose to play deeper?

I would argue that Rodgers knows that Stevie is the best player for the creative midfielder (attacking midfielder, in the hole, number ten, and what have you) role in his side. He knows what Sahin is, a passer a la Xabi Alonso who is best utilized controlling the tempo of the game passing from deep. He knows that Shelvey offers a goal threat from the number 10 role, but little else. He also knows that Suso doesn't offer the goal threat that Stevie does. But those three players have each spent more time in that role than Stevie has this season. That, to me, says that Stevie must want to play as the deeper midfielder (which is a mistake in my opinion, because he's third best at the deep, passing role).

Now comes the interesting part: Is Steven Gerrard actually still fit to play as the attacking midfielder? Is he still our most creative player?

I would argue no, on both counts. It seems a bit taboo to mention the obvious: Gerrard missed more than a season of football and is four years older than he was during the 2008-2009 campaign. He has lost a significant amount of pace (whether you choose to believe it or not) since he was the best midfielder in the world playing behind Torres that season. For some players, losing that pace is not much of a problem. Scholes lost his pace but continues to pull the strings in United's midfield. For Stevie, however, it is extremely problematic. You see, Gerrard's game was always built on speed and power. He was at his best, creatively, when he was making a surging run forward on the ball, shrugging off or outpacing a defender (if you don't believe me that he was fast, Danny Murphy called him the fastest midfielder he's ever faced). How many goals did he and Torres create for each other by simply being physically superior to the opposing defenders? Countless. Now, without that pace, he's not nearly as incisive, his passing and dribbling skills are not quite good enough on their own to cut through opposing defenses.

Comparing him to Liverpool's two up-and-coming "number 10"s shows that he's less creative nowadays than both of them. Suso (when he has played as a midfielder) can use his close control to shimmy past a defender before playing an incisive ball. We saw that when he came on against United, and when he played as a midfielder against West Brom in the league cup. He's almost a David Silva clone in that respect. Shelvey on the other hand, is more like a Gerrard of the past, though a bit better with the ball at his feet (he manages to glide past the opposition frequently, always surprises me when he does). He uses his own goal threat to pull defenders away from him and then uses the space to find a pass. Both manage to find the forwards in dangerous positions. Both do the job, creatively. They're both very creative, and I'm not sure that he can better them at that any more.

Frankly, his loss of pace has robbed him of what used to be his greatest creative asset, his surging runs and bullying of defenders. I think Steven has realized it, or else Rodgers has, and because of it, Stevie has been forced into a deeper role in order to still be in the game. Unfortunately, I think he's inferior to both Allen and Sahin in that deeper role.
So, in my opinion, Gerrard should perhaps still be an automatic starter in the attacking midfield role. He's our most well rounded player for that role; he's a goal threat, he's an accomplished passer, and he links up well with Suarez. However, because he hasn't played the role yet this year, that leads me to believe he won't play it again.

In that case, the real question is: Is Steven Gerrard still automatically first choice over Nuri Sahin or Joe Allen for the passing midfield role? For me, the answer is no. Both of them control the game better from deep than Gerrard does. Neither of them give the ball up as much as Gerrard does. Only Sahin carries a comparable goal threat, but that isn't a necessary trait for the passing midfield role anyways.

So, no. For me, Gerrard is no longer first choice in our midfield.

Interesting question: Should he choose to play as an attacking midfielder again, would he be automatic first choice? I'd argue no, again. He'd certainly be first choice most of the time, for me. But there are games that call for the silky smooth touch of Suso to unlock a parked bus defense. There are games that might require the youthful (and naïve) vigor of Shelvey.

So he's first choice in the AM role if he decides to play it again. But not automatic first choice.
 

Mascot88

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He is still a first team player, but he shouldn't be in midfield.

This isn't an age thing - I've been saying the same thing since he was 25,
 

wembley 65

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i can honestly see stevie in the mattaus sammer style role as a sweeper, his vision is still great but his legs are not as quick as they were.
 

Mada

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He is still a first team player, but he shouldn't be in midfield.

This isn't an age thing - I've been saying the same thing since he was 25,
Mascot, I am curious....where would you prefer to see him?
 

RedJacko

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Strange to start this discussion after probably his best performance of the season.

I've been critical of him this year but credit where credit is due, he did well today. Allen and Sahin were off their game though.
Hmm I disagree Sweeting, may not have been his worst but I don't think it was his best. The main difference I spotted today was his choice of pass in the final third. Amongst all of Gerrards qualities over the years, his passing ability was underrated in my opinion. He was able to split a defence easily, and I thought with two players up top today, both often running off the last man, he had chances to play them but took that second too long and opted for the easy, keep ball approach.

Also in confrontations with their midfield, especially Ramires, he come out second best an awful lot. It seemed to be a sheer mobility thing.
 

OhYaBeauty

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Mascot, I am curious....where would you prefer to see him?
Its in vogue to mention that Stevie would work in our right forward position(I believe that's what Mascot88 referred to).

He might work there. He also might not, and its not going to happen anyways. We seriously need to get over that.
 

RMP

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Until he's replaced by another world-class player he should be considered an automatic starter. I think Allen started out well but he's still raw and he needs an experience midfielder to play alongside. The same with Shelvey and Sahin to a lesser extent.

We saw what happen to Chelsea when they dropped Lampard last year and United when Scholes retired. I think today was his best performance but he needs more bodies making willing to make forward runs. Apart from Suarez and Sterling it was only Enrique who was willing to make a run in the box and he was off-side too often.
 
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ChicagoRed

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Now, that is a recipe for disaster ... Gerrard has never had the tactical discipline to perform the role of the deep-lying play-maker ... He has always been a top class attacking midfielder, but a pretty average central midfielder ...
How would you characterize his play at Euros when pretty much he was one of the few English players to play well? Or what happened today when Suso came on for Sahin and Gerrard played deeper the last 30 minutes?

He would also be able to help more defensively, kind of like when he saved Carra's ass.
 

ILLOK

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Much better than Sahin, Allen, Henderson and Shelvey.

Quite a simple answer; yes.
 

Prolix

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To me, "automatic" carries with it a sense of 'regardless of form', in which case my answer is unequivocally NO for any player.

In a less literal sense, I am in complete agreement with OYB that I don't think he is even our best option in the midfield positions. First choice midfielder? For me, probably. First choice right forward? I'd like to think so, for now. But maybe not until Lucas comes back.
 

RedJacko

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Much better than Sahin, Allen, Henderson and Shelvey.

Quite a simple answer; yes.
Ok lets put it this way...

Day in day out we talk about who may be coming, who may be going the next transfer window. When names and positions are branded around, most people don't even think about mentioning dynamic central midfield players coming in because it seems as though everybody has it in the back of their head that 'The captain of our football club plays there'. Surely the likes of Chelsea didn't have this in the back of their head about Lampard (I still think Gerrard is a lot better, mind) when they brought in Ramires, Mikel, and all there attacking midfield players. The competition in that midfield is fierce and it keeps everybody on there toes.

For me, like or not, Stevie seems to have let complacency leak into his game. It sure looks like it anyway. I am not saying he doesn't still pull out the dynamic, maestro performance now and then because he does. But I am just wondering if the club should be a bit more open minded when selecting the team and approaching transfer windows. I think it is a legitimate point to raise.
 

ILLOK

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If we sign players that are better than him and play in his position, then yeah we can look at dropping him. We've already got plenty of options in the centre, maybe that's why we've not been looking at signing players akin to Gerrard.

When we're reduced to playing teenagers in the wide forward positions week in week out, a teenager at fullback and having to play someone out of position to cover Lucas, why do you think our main priority would be replacing Gerrard, when we already have 2 or 3 players who can play the same role as he does?
 
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RedJacko

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No I know it isn't a priority signing, as I believe Shelvey fingers crossed will eventually replace him and become a similar type of player. But the basis of what i'm saying is should other players in midfield be disregarded playing in his position because of what he has done for our club and not based on current form. Whether it be good, average, or bad.
 

ILLOK

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No I know it isn't a priority signing, as I believe Shelvey fingers crossed will eventually replace him and become a similar type of player. But the basis of what i'm saying is should other players in midfield be disregarded playing in his position because of what he has done for our club and not based on current form. Whether it be good, average, or bad.
What other players should be playing ahead of him based on current form?

Shelvey is wildly inconsistent. However shit you think Gerrard has been, he hasn't put in performances as bad as Shelvey has this season, some of them have been complete horror shows (he's obviously had his good ones too).

Sahin has struggled to make enough of an impact for me. Suso's done very, very well coming off the bench but I'm not sure he's ready to be a regular starter.

Gerrard's been our most creative player behind Suarez, I really don't think he's been anywhere near as bad as some make him to have been. I think people are looking for a problem that's not there. Our midfield hasn't been anywhere near as good as what we think it should be with the names we have in there but I still think Gerrard's been head and shoulders above Allen and Sahin overall.