New Role for Gerrard One of Rodgers Problems

I was only this bad…
There’s nothing wrong with admitting you made a mistake as long as you look to correct it in the future. After clawing back a two goal deficit to draw with Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers admitted that Liverpool weren’t at their best – and neither, he quickly conceded, was he.

An overly aggressive, attacking line-up left both Lucas and Joe Allen, often considered to be defensive midfielders, out of the starting eleven and the results were laid bare for all to see. With Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson tasked with holding down the middle of the park, the Reds first half display was nothing short of shambolic as Villa exploited the gap between them and the defence on a strikingly consistent basis.

First half goals from Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke evoked strong feelings of déjà vu as Paul Lambert’s side tried their damndest to recreate last season’s shock 3-1 victory; had Rodgers not brought on Lucas at half-time, there’s not a whole lot of doubt that they would have. One of the key talking points of the match, if you choose to ignore the whole Luis Suarez penalty circus that’s currently doing the rounds, was Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard once again operating in a deeper position – and having a shockingly poor go at it.

While the skipper has earned himself enough credit over the years with his swashbuckling displays to warrant some time and understanding as he tries to adapt to this new role, Aston Villa recognized him as a weak point in the side and took nothing short of full advantage of it.

Not a pretty sight
“It didn’t work for myself or the team” conceded Gerrard. “Villa put a lot of men around me and every time I tried to get the ball under control in the first half they swamped me. It wasn’t one of my better 45 minutes.”

Trying to shoe horn Gerrard into a starting role has been a problem all season; by the end of the match, his legs are gone and that’s through no fault of his own –you can’t expect the kind of balls to the wall, all action displays that the Captain of old regularly turned in. At 33-years old, it’s just not on anymore and if he wants to continue in the side, adapting his game is the only way to go. With that being said, if he’s going to continue in this role – or if Rodgers is going to continue naming him in it – a vast improvement has to be on the horizon.

Again, time and patience is both warranted and deserved, but the skipper was only able to complete a mere 73% of his passes and won neither a headed duel nor found his target with even one of his six attempted crosses – though there were high point of his game on the defensive end with Gerrard completing 2/3 of his tackles and his one take-on.

It wasn’t until Lucas came on and the Captain was shifted further forward that we saw an uptick in his output and the long pass to Luis Suarez for the Uruguayan to win the penalty that tied things up was nothing short of sublime. With the Derby on the horizon, this leaves Rodgers with a decision to make: does he restore Gerrard to a more familiar, and more effective, role but be prepared to sacrifice him when his legs start to wobble, or, persist with him in this new, unfamiliar, deep position and risk having the midfield overrun again? More controversially, and dependant on Lucas being fit in time for next Tuesday, does he keep him in reserve and put him on for the last half hour or so?

Rodgers, it would appear, is unfazed by the 33-year olds poor first half performance saying that there’s “no question” that Gerrard can play the role and that he doesn’t regard it as a “setback” in his attempts to remake the midfielder. On Saturday we saw that Liverpool have a number of problems – many of which could be addressed this month with both existing players returning from injury and intelligent moves in the market for new players to plug some gaps – but the Liverpool boss insists that it will be a “totally different game” when Everton visit Anfield just over a week from today.

Let’s hope he’s right…


What do you think? Can the Captain turn his game around? Or should Rodgers take a good, long look at things and reconsider his role in the team? Let us know in the comments or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter.

Steven McMillan

Can’t find up from down or tell black from white, but doesn't care cause it’s all Red to him. When he's not pissing and moaning about all things Liverpool, he’s chatting nonsense with his multiple personalities — or his “entourage” as he likes to call them.

7 thoughts on “New Role for Gerrard One of Rodgers Problems

  • January 20, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    I think that game showed us we need to replace Gerard ASAP. And that would mean Gerard coming off the bench, for the last 30 minutes and then we would have Gerard at his very best for 30 or 45 minutes a game. We looked a better team when it was Allen and Hendo in the Middle.

    But Allen is really a stand in for Lucas,

    What if we get 2 CM injuries? What will we do?

    This I would say is a most important issue to deal with this window….

    People say we need a new RB/LB but we have Flano, Jonno, Cis, Enrique, and Kelly. All have ether shown great ability in the past or show great talent for the future or both. It is up to the manager to get the best out of those players.

  • January 20, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    It clear our captain now needs just a role where he is to support other not for him to be the main man in the middle of the pack.With age your performance also ages.The legs no longer have would do us a lot of good if the coach can accept reality.

  • January 21, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I think Gerrard still has a role to play, albeit a diminished one.
    To be fair, I think he could have pulled off this deep role, Pirlo thing a bit better against Aston Villa if Lucas or Allen was beside him.

    Trying it against “lesser opposition”, and I use that term loosely, is one thing, but if we try this in the derby it’s going to be suicide.

  • January 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    He can adapt his game, but that’s going to take time — time that we don’t have. We can ill afford to experiment with the top of the table so congested. We know what works and at this point we should probably stick to it.

  • January 22, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Yeah for sure he can do it if he is playing along side Allen or Lucas, just like he did with Didi Harman.

    But to be honest I think BR wants to play with just one DM and 2 box to box CM’s and I can see why, I have seen us play so well like that,

  • January 22, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    i think gerrard stil has a role to play in this team he has a lot of experience and the team needs that rodgers knows what he is doing and to adapt to this new role will take a little time but someone with gerrarsds standards he will do it the villa game was not his fault the strategy and game plan didnt work for rodgers he got it wrong he didnt expect villa to change their system from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 but that dosnt mean liverpool have weak points this season and that is the defence and specialy skirtle i know people would say hi is our best defender this season but for me he is not and with him in the team we will not make it to champions league football this season i hope mr rodgers will wake up soon and realise it or it will be too late i prefer toure with sakho or agger if abailble for the everton game for me every time skirtle plays we have problems at the back its crystal clear every one saw what he did in matches by pulling people down in the penalty area he got away with it but sometime in the future it will cost us the games and points hope someone advices mr rodgers very soon he just have to look at stats to see when he droped him last season since january how many we concede and this season when he started to play ….

  • January 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    If available, I’m sure we’ll see Sakho come back into the side for Everton. WE’re going to need him to handle the likes of Lukaku and, if available, Lacina Traore.

    I’m more worried about our flanks; neither Glen Johnson or Aly Cissokho are inspiring much confidence.

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