Liverpool are in trouble right now. Why? Because, despite huge investment in the summer, Steven Gerrard is still generally seen as the crucial figure for the team – the man who can make the difference in the big games.
At 34 that’s got to be a worry. Of course, everyone loves Raheem Sterling – he gets bums off seats.
But Gerrard still seems to be the main catalyst for the side. Liverpool can play well without Sterling but struggle badly without their captain.
Manchester United had the same problem a few years ago and it lead to a season of humiliation. Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, the golden oldies, were still among the best players in the team and many were concerned about the vacuum that would be created when they finally retired. They were right to be concerned.
Manchester United have an issue in midfield also. Michael Carrick is crucial to United but can’t go on forever at 33. That said, he’s never scored the goals that Gerrard provides for Liverpool. United are weaker without Carrick but not hopeless.
Brendan Rodgers has rightly gone on record this week to say that Liverpool can’t rely on Gerrard. It’s true. So many other Liverpool players need to step up to the plate.
“It is up to the players here to write themselves into folklore by winning the game. We can’t just rely on Steven, this has to be a team performance”
Henderson needs to become even more influential. He needs to constantly demand the ball and improve his forward passing and goal output. Emma Can is young but can give much more – he’s a very talented lad.
Meanwhile, creative players such a Markovic, Coutinho and Lallana need to start giving performances which are as impressive as their price tags.
Gerrard is still a titan. But, after a massive game against Basle, he simply can’t be expected to carry the baton at the weekend against a hungry Manchester United.
It’s time for other members of Liverpool’s hugely talented squad to step up to the plate.