In recent years I’ve had a bit of an odd relationship with our skipper, which has often seen me labelled a Gerrard basher. Personally, I think the whole ‘Gerrard issue’ is a complex one.
There are those who will tell you Gerrard is Mr. Liverpool and those who’ll tell you he’s a cunt.
There are those who’ll tell you Steven Gerrard is our player of the season before he steps on the pitch and those who’ll say he only has a great season every other year.
There are those who say that his decisions to stay in 2004 and 2005 were a sign of how much he loves the club and those who still haven’t quite forgiven him for almost leaving.
There are those who say the News of the World is the Sunday S*n and those who say it isn’t.
What’s interesting is that these aren’t the conflicting views of outsiders, but of our own fans. Steven Gerrard is complex, and full of contradictions which even his staunchest supporters and fiercest critics are challenged by.
Last season was one of those seasons were, after an iffy start co-inciding with an injury, Steven Gerrard played some of his best football. His attitude for the most part was right (bar that horrible spell around the West Ham away game when to be honest he wasn’t the only one who lost his way). Most importantly, at the back end of the season in particular he seemed to be enjoying his football.
I’ve posted to praise Steven Gerrard once before, and unfortunately what followed not long after was him selling out to the news of the world (Sunday S*n or not it doesn’t sit well with me) and having a poor season by his standards where a poor attitude on the pitch was evident on several ocassions. So why am I now doing it again?
The reason is simple – because next season is key for Liverpool Football Club and Steven Gerrard is absolutely key to that. And I suspect that when Robbie Keane signs we may well see Steven Gerrard on the right hand side again – and we all know how that can sometimes go in Steven’s head. In ability terms he can be outstanding there, in attitude terms it’s not his favourite role and he’s been known to sulk about a prolonged run in that position.
Now is the time for the attitude to be perfect. Whatever negative opinions I might have about Steven Gerrard the man he has certainly matured in the last year or two. He’s begun to really act like a man and a leader, which is great to see. Next season he could potentially lead the side by example in both performance and attitude, or he could take a huge step backwards.
Just look at that front line:
Gerrard —– Keane —– Babel
———— Torres ———–
There is nothing better than that in this league in my opinion, and a few of the other big boys look like they may be losing some key attacking talent (Hleb and Adebayor at Arsenal, Drogba and Lampard at Chelsea, Ronaldo at the Mancs). But it won’t work if Steven Gerrard’s attitude isn’t right from the get go.
So I suppose more than anything this is a kind of plea to the man himself (though I doubt he’ll ever read it). If you are put in that right hand role – think about the positives of it. It’s an attacking role with a lot of freedom, it’s a flexible role which will see you moving everywhere along the front line which is a great opportunity to utilise your energy, you won’t be our main source of width as Degen and Dossena have been brought to do that – which means you have plenty of opportunity to come inside and influence play.
I can’t think of a time in recent history when we’ve had such an array of attacking talent. The potential is frightening. And Steven Gerrard is the key to it all.
The more mature Steven Gerrard that we’ve seen recently is undoubtedly capable of that. It’s time for Steven Gerrard to dismiss the contradictions and be our leader, whatever position he occupies in the side.