October 22, 2014
That is all.
This is sad. Stevie G is one of the reasons I like football. But after all, being around for 18 seasons(with a lot of millage in his legs), and showing up for every international competition since 2000 takes a toll on your body. I still think he can contribute, that he has skills that a top-level team can use. But he’s probably not reliable on a game-to-game basis anymore. That’s also a tricky issue for Liverpool, a team that is sensitive with his homeboys, and will stick with Gerrard for more time than they should.
I suppose a decline in through balls is somewhat to be expected when Liverpool have reduced amount of players making runs (I’m looking at you Mario, compared to S&S). So I wouldn’t put that all on him, but maybe I am too nostalgic.
More fouls vs less tackles is definitely a mobility issue – he’s just not tracking players like he did. Scoring might be too (I can’t find a good heat map) given his average position must be getting deeper and deeper the less forward runs he makes (brief experiments with him playing further up excepted).
An optimistic Liverpool fan says maybe after a rest he would perform better; he’s played about a game and a half less than Matic over the last season and a bit & more than Schneiderlin, I’d say they’re among the best in the position in the PL. He’s 8 & 10 years older than that pair. Unfortunately I can’t see Rodgers making that bold call despite all the pish spoken about tiredness lately.
I think we might get more out of him scoring wise if he played slightly further forward and we had a dedicated defensive midfielder, but his days of playing that DM role 35-40 games a season seem to be done, just as playing energetically at attacking mid for the same ended a couple of seasons ago. Whether changing the role again would work, and whether a role like that fits into an effective system for Liverpool remains to be seen.
Gerrard’s goal contribution is very streaky, he’ll go on a few games where Liverpool get penalties or score through set pieces and that changes.
His all-round statistics are more or less the same as last year (passing, key passes, accuracy, etc) but his defensive side has fallen off somewhat. It’s still early though and he has been doing better recently.
You’d also think a big part of his through ball quota being gone is a lack of Sturridge and Suarez. Balotelli and Lambert are very static strikers. The graph is pretty misleading without context.
Ted – Any PL (or top 5 league) players with similar CM/DM radars? Would be curious to see names that match him. I know he isn’t a DM, nor is he an Attacker anymore, but I struggle to find the right comparable to give a guidepost for what Stevie “is” these days.