Jamie Carragher says Liverpool should not let Steven Gerrard’s career at the club fade away, amid criticism of the Reds skipper.
Writing in his Daily Mail column, former defender Carragher says Gerrard would still be “one of the first names I’d put down on the teamsheet” in a big game and not for sentimental reasons.
Gerrard has come under increased pressure during Liverpool’s poor start to the season, with Carragher himself bemoaning the lack of leadership on Sky Sports last week.
“If Liverpool had a penalty or a free-kick in a dangerous area, Steven is the only person I’d want taking it,” wrote Carragher. “He’s proven that against Ludogorets and Everton this season. He is also the man I’d pick to play a killer pass and the one I’d back over anyone else if he was racing through on goal.
“The issue, however, is that at 34, he doesn’t get into those positions as regularly as he once did. Furthermore, the dynamic of the deep-lying role he occupied last season has changed as Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have not been around to provide outlets.”
Carragher will want more than even the most ardent #LFC fan for Gerrard to age gracefully on the pitch, and Rodgers should take note.
— Jack Lusby (@jacklusby_) November 28, 2014
Carragher believes Liverpool should now focus on Gerrard’s strengths in short bursts, rather than burning him out with three games per week.
“Over the next 18 months, Brendan will have to start to take him off and leave him out for his own good,” he added. “People have questioned whether the manager has the resolve to do so but history shows he makes big calls. Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez, Pepe Reina and I will testify to that.
“But that isn’t a bad thing for Steven. Can you imagine the reaction inside Anfield with 30 minutes of a tight game remaining and seeing No 8 getting stripped for action? With space to exploit and energy to change the game, he could be a lethal weapon.”
Carragher: 'It's not about how many games you play; what is important is the amount of good games you play.' http://t.co/x2wpg9yAv3
— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) November 28, 2014
Liverpool will be looking to build on Wednesday’s 2-2 draw against Ludogorets in the Champions League when they face Stoke City at Anfield on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
How should Gerrard be handled by Liverpool going forward? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, or for general Liverpool FC discussion, join in the debate in our forums.