So after scoring the penalty that gave Liverpool the lead into the second leg, Stevie Gerrard then signed a new extension to his contract. Not sure how long the extension is, but it allegedly secures his long term future at the club, and on top of that he’ll take on an ambassadorial role at the club after his playing career is over.
Now Stevie G, may well be past his best, but he is still in my opinion absolute quality. As players get older they may not have the same pace, they may not go charging in to tackles like they used to, and maybe they loose a bit of sharpness, but they still have that natural ability, their experience and skills to fall back on. Take for example a player like Thierry Henry, he’s clearly not going to be as fast as he used to be, but he still has that eye for goal, he still has that ability to hold the line and time his runs. That to me is the difference between a world class player and a decent player. Stevie Gerrard is no doubt a world class player, and his talents are such that he can keep going for a while longer.
He has an unbelievable ability for long range passes, that can unlock many teams’ defence; he seems to know where his team mates are; and his positional sense is fairly good. As he gets older maybe he won’t get on the end of crosses as much as he has done in the past but he’ll still be able to set himself up perfectly on the edge of the box for the knock downs that he’s scored in the past. He’ll still be able to lead the men as a captain, and just the mere thought of him coming on spurs his team mates on. However, at the end of the day the one part of him that stands out is his ability to find that killer ball. With one quick look, and one long pass, he has provided Liverpool strikers with an amazing number of chances. Would Fernando Torres have been anywhere near the success he was at Liverpool without Gerrard? Unlikely.
I suppose the sad fact is that Liverpool have had a player of Gerrard’s ability for years, but have by an large been unable to provide him with the one thing he needs consistently; an array of talent up front. Sure he’s been able to play with Torres, Fowler, and Owen, but he’s also had to spend a large time with fairly average players. Imagine if he had played at say Real Madrid, with their ability to waste money on a number of strikers. Add on top of that the players around him, and Stevie G found himself many a times the only world class player in the team, and having to do a large part of the work himself. How many times has he had to do the Lucas role, then take the ball up and set up the next attack.
The signing of an extension is fantastic news. I still think he has a couple of years in him, and the only thing that would change that is potentially a new signing (which is probably unlikely) or maybe one of the youngsters to really break through much like Gerrard himself did. I suppose the problem here is Stevie G came through at a perfect time when we were really struggling. Lack of money, and a relatively poor squad meant that the likes of God 9, Hamstrung Owen, Macca, and Stevie G were able to break through to the first team and get regular football. Jonjo Shelvey may well be the next Gerrard, but he’s hardly likely to get in the team ahead of Gerrard, at least not for the next year or so.
The ambassadorial role will be great too, but I just hope Liverpool FC utilise him to his full potential. In my opinion, although marginally better, there are still a number of things that Liverpool FC are doing wrong as a global entity. They have huge support in Asia, yet they’re way behind Chelsea and Man United in terms of exposure out here. That stems from the club, and it’s almost like they know they have the support here so they don’t feel like they need to do anything more, but that’s wrong. It annoys me that Man United have a huge store in Macau, but Liverpool don’t even have a corner shop in Vietnam.