Steven Gerrard has been the first name on the Liverpool team sheet for the past decade. He’s dominated the captaincy and the central midfield role. It’s going to be a huge adjustment, but perhaps it is a good thing that Brendan Rodgers has abandoned sentimentality, and agreed to let Gerrard go stateside.
He will inevitably be missed. He is Liverpool’s top goalscorer in all competitions this season (although that isn’t his greatest achievement, considering the fact that Sturridge has been injured for most of the season).
More important than his goals, is his presence as a leader. Gerard Houllier – appointing him captain in 2003 – cited his natural ‘leadership qualities’ as the reason for the move, an unusual one considering Gerrard’s relative youth at the time.
He replaced Sami Hyypia, another Liverpool legend and a very successful captain. Hyypia won six trophies during his tenure, as has Gerrard thus far. Houllier took a lot of flak for his decision at the time, though in hindsight it was an excellent move – is there any hope of an easy ride for Brendan Rodgers?
Most likely, no. It is terrible PR; to lose a lifelong Liverpool lad, a man who has garnered adoration from fans across the world. And of course a man who still has the capability to carry his side to victory, à la AFC Wimbledon last week.
But I’m tempted to believe that Rodgers may well be proven right in this instance. Liverpool have to let go of their talisman, and the sooner someone else is allowed to step up the better. Jordan Henderson will have to raise his game. Emre Can and Lucas might also be able to step up to the plate. Liverpool will have to endure a period of transition, but one that is inevitable anyway.
It’s not going to be much fun for Rodgers, but Gerrard’s move is good for Liverpool. He will be missed in the Premier League, but it’ll be thrilling to see who fills his considerable shoes.