How good was Steven Gerrard 1

When a legend self-destructs - Steven Gerrard

In recent years, many stars have left the big stage: Oliver Kahn, Gennaro Gattuso, Ryan Giggs, ... They all played for a large club for many years, celebrated great success and inscribed themselves forever in the history books of their club. Then there are players who left their clubs and destroyed their legendary status.

Kaká moved to Real Madrid in 2009, months earlier he announced from his balcony that he would never leave Milan. From 2013 to 2014 he played again for Milan, but his status with the Milanese was no longer the same as before - and not only because of his achievements.

Or Frank Lampard, whose contract with Chelsea was not renewed after 13 seasons, whereupon he moved to the MLS and was then loaned out to Manchester City, a direct competitor of Chelsea. Lampard, the personification of the blues, broke the hearts of many fans with this change.

And then there is, for example, the case of “Michael Owen”, who moved from Liverpool to Real Madrid and, after years of injuries, ended up at Manchester United, one of Liverpool's greatest rivals. He was also heavily criticized and still hated today for his club change. The self-made player from Liverpool went from a budding legend to probably the most despised player in England.

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Steven Gerrard: Born Red?

But in the case of Liverpool you not only had a world-class player in Michael Owen, but also Steven Gerrard. While the striker ruined his image forever with his move, the midfielder remained loyal to the Reds. "Steven Gerrard is different, he remains loyal to his club and always gives everything."

Liverpool fans argued like this after the departure of their star striker. Indeed, Steven Gerrard is different. He was born just ten kilometers from the city center, grew up in a humble area with his family and football was hot every weekend, or to be more precise: Liverpool FC.

His father was already crazy about the Reds, so the passion was passed on straight away. He was already on the Reds' list at the age of eight, and shortly afterwards he moved to Liverpool's U10.

But joy was clouded when his ten-year-old cousin Jon-Paul was killed in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. Like the whole club, the Gerrards moved closer together. From then on, Liverpool FC was more than just a club for the family.

Perhaps that is also the reason why the captain of the Reds always gives everything, remains loyal to the club and has never left Anfield Road despite many offers ... Until January 2nd, 2015, when Steven Gerrard announced that he was not going to start his career with the Reds, but will end at LA Galaxy. Gerrard's decision was met with incomprehension by many, but in my opinion it is the right step.

For years, nothing went on at the Reds without Stevie G. Stars came and went: Torres, Kuyt, Suarez, Luis Garcia, Mascherano - all of them were led by Steven Gerrard, without the leadership qualities of the figure eight, despite all the stars, there would probably be little at Liverpool ran.

He's a leader and knows how to deal with his players. Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cissé said in a recent interview that the midfielder often stood in for the coach to deliver the halftime speeches. For example, in the famous 2004/05 Champions League final, when Liverpool were three goals behind against Milan at halftime and still won the Champions League. Once again, Stevo was the big protagonist in a final that only Disney could have written, even if Jerzy Dudek became the final hero with his saved penalties.

But even in difficult times nothing went without Gerrard. While there was a change in the national team after Eriksson and players like Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, David Beckham and others were not nominated, Gerrard's removal was never an issue. And rightly so.

If you take a look at his last years at Liverpool, you immediately see that the Englishman always scored more than ten points, except for the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, in which he was injured for a long time. It is logical that each of his previous coaches built a team around the eighth of the Reds. Everything went perfectly for the Liverpool player: for fans he was and is an identification figure, for children an idol, the coaches loved him, the opposing players respected him, even other players took him as a role model.

“Gerrard was my role model for ten years and he's one of the world's best midfielders. He is an example of what all midfielders strive for, ”said Daniele de Rossi, for example. Thierry Henry goes a step further and describes him as "Liverpool FC". Other players such as Francesco Totti, Ronaldinho and Zinedine Zidane also paid homage to the star player.


Steven Gerrard in crisis

Now this almost dreamlike world seems to be falling apart. Every professional degrades with age, but in Steven Gerrard's case it is less of a physical nature, even if that is of course also added, but much more psychological. The previous season was the best of his career with the seasons 2004/05 and 2008/09. Liverpool was not represented internationally, but apart from four missed games, everything went ideally nationally for the Reds captain.

Although he remained in the first five league games without a scorer point, Steven Gerrard was able to achieve 13 goals and put forward 15 goals in the remaining 29 games of the season. In addition, the club was well on the way to winning its first championship title since 1990.

Steven Gerrard could have made himself immortal, hardly any other player has won more with the Reds, only winning the Premier League was missing, but this time it should work. After so many years of failure, everyone around the world suddenly seemed to be keeping their fingers crossed for Reds. Hardly anyone is unfamiliar with Steven Gerrard's speech after the 3-2 win over Norwich City.

With tears in his eyes, his arms tight around Simon Mignolet and Jon Flanagan, the captain motivated his players with the words “We don't let this slip. We go again. This does not fucking slip. "

Almost everyone was carried away by these pictures, with the exception of the Chelsea fans, almost everyone on the globe kept their fingers crossed for the Reds. It was an unbelievable game, and the atmosphere on Anfield Road was breathtaking. The fans wanted the championship title, and after more than two decades it was time for a Premier League title again. But in the stoppage time of the first half, the dreams burst.

Ironically, Steven Gerrard, of all people, the idol, the hero of the last few years, made the mistake of all mistakes when he gave Demba Ba the goal to make it 1-0 through a slip. For the first time in his career there was a real headwind.

The legend Steven Gerrard became the internet joke of the year within seconds. In the second half the Englishman was unrecognizable. His accuracy of fit sank from 94.6% to 84.2%, his dangerous long passes from half one mostly came to the man very imprecisely in the second half. The game ended 2-0 for Chelsea, the fans were devastated, but it was arguably as bad for anyone as it was for Steven Gerrard. Everything that he had built up in recent years was destroyed in a matter of seconds.

The title seemed almost impossible, but a win against Norwich would have kept the title chance alive. You saw old Stevo in the field again, but he was still marked. With a straight face he led the team onto the field, he looked tense. Gerrard gave it all, scoring four goals in the last two games of the season, but in the end the defeat to Chelsea and the draw with Crystal Palace were too many.

Second place, from the dream. For Luis Suarez the case is clear, in Stevo's place his career would have ended and this mishap would never have been cope with, as he later said in an interview.

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As if it wasn't bad enough that the greatest dream of yourself and millions of others had been destroyed by an accident, it was ridiculed. The internet was overflowing with pictures and videos laughing at the Englishman. Only weeks later, the World Cup in Brazil followed, in which Gerrard played the worst tournament since 1958 as captain with the Three Lions.

Once again, the midfielder was one of the main actors in the drama when he headed the ball to Luis Suarez in the game against Uruguay, who shot the Three Lions down with his goal. The Spanish ace even found the midfielder's performance so bad that she didn't even give him a grade. After the tournament, the 34-year-old withdrew from the national team to focus on Liverpool.


Criticism of Steven Gerrard

But apparently the last few months have not left him without a trace. While the Liverpool fans are behind their legend, the opposing fans seem to have lost their respect for the Englishman and are now talking about Slippy G. rather than Stevie G.

But even the media don't mince their words and tear up the Liverpool player. It is almost like the "Lost Honor of Katharina Blum" by Heinrich Böll, only that Steven Gerrard is not turned into a murderer, but an absolute joke and laughing stock. Every day you read about possible substitutes for Steven Gerrard. The former star player of the Reds simply dismantled. This is not how you deal with a club legend who has played more than 700 games for Liverpool.

The almost 35-year-old has lost a lot of physical strength in recent years and, apart from his leadership qualities, long passes and standards, is much more of a burden for the team. Stevo has always been the heart of the team, Carra the soul, but with age it seems that the captain no longer carries the team, it seems that they carry him.

According to many statistics, the Reds perform better when Stevo is not on the field. This has to do with the tactical direction of the Reds, among other things: Brendan Rodgers' style of play does not benefit the Englishman. Although every coach brought a change for Gerrard, a team was always built around him, but he now seems to have problems with this.

While Steven Gerrard appeared eighth at the beginning of his career, he advanced to the hanging top under Rafa Benitez and pulled the strings on the offensive, now under Brendan Rodgers Coutinho seems to have overtaken him as an attacking midfielder and his performances in the more defensive position in the Midfield next to Henderson is like a tragedy.

His positional play cost the Reds a lot of goals, while he was able to compensate for that with his own goals, Liverpool now has to be more stable defensively - something that is difficult to achieve with a line-up of Stevie G. as six.

Gerrard doesn't know what to do with the fast, pressing-oriented system from Rodgers. Sixes are usually left out when building up the game, making the midfielder mostly ineffective and almost useless.

Under Rodgers, the half-backs usually play straight to the front of the forwards, flat and sharp in the space between the lines. This is quickly noticeable when you look at his performance data: 24 league games, six goals and only one assist (as of April 19, 2015). The formerly important passport of the Reds now has to queue up.

Gerrard is stuck in a hole from which he can no longer free himself, he needs relief and support from the fans. Support he might find in the US. "It's the hardest decision of my life," said the 34-year-old after the announcement of his move to the MLS, but maybe the decision to take the step was difficult because the step into Major League Soccer could be exactly the right one. Football is enjoying a hype in the US and players like Kaká, Henry and Villa are being idolized. Possibly exactly what the English need at the moment.

But there is still a long way to go and the present is different. Liverpool would have liked to keep Stevo on significantly lower terms, but the Englishman was not ready, perhaps even too proud, to accept such a cut. The timing of the negotiations was also badly chosen by the club and only very late. Liverpool don't seem to know how to deal with the situation. But also Gerrard.

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The best example would be his appearance against Manchester United. Ironically, in such an important game as against the big rivals from Manchester, the captain had to take a seat on the bench. The frustrated player came into play, immediately gave full throttle and apparently wanted to let his frustration run free.

Just 48 seconds on the pitch: first an over-hard entry against Mata and then an assault against Ander Herrera - it seems to have been enough for the 34-year-old. Maybe I interpret a lot into it, maybe it was just the good old passion of Stevie G. First the defeat, then the ridicule, then the criticism after the World Cup, then the demotion and relegation to the bank - clearly too much. For every professional.

But even if England and the media are no longer behind the England legend, its legendary status in Liverpool remains undisputed for the fans, and rightly so.