04 June 2010

Steven Gerrard Must Go



...I love Steven Gerrard, he's my favourite player, perhaps ever... he's an oddly shaped antelope, a boy-faced Egyptian God, a chisel-haired football legend... he's the dark beating heart of Liverpool FC, the boy wonder with guts and bones to spare... he's been brilliant for Liverpool, loyal in a world of spun-out capitalist scree (I'm reading Zizek at the moment); he'd have genuinely played football for free, never even seemed all that bothered by the other trappings of Premiership footballing (the blur of endorsements, the smudge of lipstick on orange-peel skin, the tug of heartstrings and nightclubs - a fracas here, a loose tongue there, nothing critical or defining, nothing McAvennie, nothing Nicholas, nothing Cole)

I love Steven Gerrard but he must leave Liverpool.

This season, it's been embarrassing... for him, for the fans, for the rest of the team. He's still been good, I don't subscribe to the idea flitting around the media that he's had a bad season particularly - it's not his passes that have gone astray, it's that his team mates have been standing in the wrong place.

Time and time and time again. His pass completion rates must be shot to hell. His body language couldn't of got more mangled. When Torres was fit we looked a much better side, of course and I think Gerrard and Torres were about the most lethal attacking combination in the league but... even when they were playing together there was something amiss, something bigger than both of them... an arch psychological impediment that seemed to stem from Gerrard and flow outwards....



Gerrard must go because he's got so good, has become so essential, so integral, that his team mates are scared of playing... you can see it in their eyes, the millisecond of panic, the fractional glance across the pitch towards him when the ball's coming towards them... good players gone bad because there's someone on their team they feel the need to refer to before playing their game...

It's a small thing, a doubt that I'm sure the other Liverpool players think they're dismissing, but it's a cold virus, affecting their judgement... they're like trainee astronauts, struggling with decompression, with anoxia...

Gerrard's not a bully, not a yeller or a screamer, not a Carragher... his motivation comes from his belief, from his actions on the pitch... but the belief must be dimming now, even in someone so in love with the game and his club and the actions are inhibiting his team mates... he passes to a place where they should be, the ball goes out, he's already running for the return, he turns and he's not even angry, just disappointed... the farce starts up again...

Liverpool don't have any other Steven Gerrard's waiting in the wings, but they have good players who could be much better... in the occasions when he's off the pitch, you can almost see the relaxation... in the moments when Aquilani or (especially) Lucas forget themselves and start playing unfettered by Gerrard's silent expectancy you can see flashes of inspiration... it's not Gerrard's fault but I think he has to go...

unless...

unless...

he could stay if Liverpool could recruit a calm, older head in midfield, a Gary McCallister figure to keep things ticking, someone unfussed by reputation, someone clicking to their own desires...

Alonso was critical as we all knew he would be because he wasn't worried by Gerrard, was old beyond his years, was content to not be the star but to be a starmaker, wasn't brain-stormed by Gerrard's presence, could keep his head, could stand in the right place to receive the ball...

If they reunite at Real Madrid they really will make that team immaculate... it'll break his heart but at least, for a season, we're unlikely to meet him coming the other way...

If there's someone out there who could save Gerrard for Liverpool, if there's a McCallister, then the new Manager needs to buy now or else let Gerrard go and let the existing players free, to see where they go with their freedom, to see if Lucas et al really could be amazing players...

The new manager might need to cut off the head to save the body.

6 comments:

guttersnipe said...

oh, is this something to do with football? (looks on in bemusement)

Loki said...

No, it's much more important than that...

ZoneStyxTravelcard said...

Think you might be right Loki... It's something I've thought of before now tbh... You can see the angst on the players around him all too often, the pressure to give it straight to Gerrard, the pressure to meet his stds. But even a season or two ago, it was statisticaly the case that LFC averaged more league pts per game w/out him in the side than they did with him in. (Altho this may have subsequently changed). I also suspect that he (& Carragher) have been disillusioned w/ Benitez at various pts and what does that do to a team's collective power, when the two most senior players aren't behind the mgr? I do think Gerrard has lost something over the last few yrs too. Moving into a purely attacking role has seemed to make him lazier about tracking and covering - he'll regularly walk back watching the play when he's given the ball away now. There's also a dynamism that you don't often see any more: I remember watching him vs Tranmere in the FA Cup (nearly ten (!) years ago) and as he chased down an opposition player who was on the ball it was like watching a big cat going after a gazelle, I genuinely felt sorry for the Tranmere player - Gerrard practically chewed him up and spat him out.

ZoneStyxTravelcard said...

ps Obviously whether he has faith or not in Benitez is irrelevant now, but I do think it had a detrimental effect on the pitch at times.

Geoff said...

Someone once told me about Johnny Haynes who would think too quickly for his Fulham team mates and spent half the match looking up at the heavens for strength.

I don't know where Gerrard would fit in - England don't suit him, either.

I would be very glad if he never played against West Ham again, though.

Loki said...

The guy's cursed, a tragic hero... I agree, Geoff, England don't really suit him either.... though at least with Aaron Lennon (and Walcott, in his headless chicken way- which makes me surprised that Capello didn't take him) can at least catch up with his thoughts... speed will help... and Rooney will help, Rooney 'gets' Gerrard, I think, has had in the past a similar, less intense (and much less crap) experience at Man U... if those too can realign just slightly they'll be in sync - though perhaps they are too similar...may get in each others way ---- it's here that the Manager will be key; Don't let them be, tell them which part of themselves you want them to play, force them to alternate even, really confuse the opposition...

well, maybe....

i agree, ZST, that he has got lazier as he's pushed upfront... and England can't afford that, not without a Mascherano figure... Gareth Barry really does need to be fit...

Oh God. I'm feeling the old fatalism reappearing; wish i'd resisted the lure of football analysis... best not to think... madness lies in the mystery of the lone striker or the Christmas Tree formation...

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