Matchweek 30 of the Premier League produced a number of notable individual performances – Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph, Manchester City’s David Silva, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez – but one man stood tall among the masses, Steven Gerrard.
The 33-year-old midfielder has shown no signs of slowing down this season, scoring 10 goals and providing 9 assists in 25 matches for Liverpool. His play is even more impressive when considering where Liverpool sits in the table – 2nd, four points shy of leaders Chelsea with a game in hand – and that manager Brendan Rodgers has his skipper playing in a deeper role this season.
Heading into Sunday’s clash with rivals Manchester United, the storyline leading every major publication concerned the role reversal between the two squads and how this time around it was the Red Devils who looked to play the role of spoiler. Having displayed a decent improvement in form of late gave United a boost, as did the home field advantage of playing at Old Trafford.
So it was up to Gerrard to ensure his side came out firing and stayed focused throughout the 90 minutes. Mission accomplished. Within 34 minutes of play Rafael’s handball gave Liverpool the opportunity to snag an early lead. It was a chance that Gerrard made sure to take.
Cooly dispatching his pen into the top corner, Gerrard secured the Reds an early lead that they proved hell-bent on not relinquishing. Twelve minutes later Gerrard was asked to execute from the spot once again and he duly complied, kissing the camera in celebration and conjuring up memories of Liverpool’s dominant 4-1 victory over United in March 2009.
While his third pen found the post, Gerrard ensured his squad the three points by putting in a shift on the defensive side of the field, making four tackles, three interceptions and nabbing in a match-high 12 possessions gained.
That’s the kind of effort that earns you the nickname, ‘Captain Fantastic’, and the accolade of Premier League Player of the Week.