The latest obstacle to your “Steven Gerrard to Toronto, New York or LA” dreams comes courtesy of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who says that the club has offered a new contract to the longtime Reds captain.
The informal chats of November led to a formal offer, meaning it seems that the ball is in Gerrard’s court. The midfielder started on the bench for this weekend’s win over Stoke City, and both the player and manager have denied reports of a rift.
Rodgers went so far as to say that there is “150 percent” not a rift, which by logic means that all the pair do is hug and high-five.
It’s a tricky spot for Liverpool to be sure. There have been plenty of times this season where the Reds could’ve been better without Gerrard in the center of the park, but that doesn’t mean he’s been an anchor. And Frank Lampard’s heroics for Manchester City show that familiarity sometimes breeds wrong feelings about a player’s effectiveness.
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Only does it? Lampard has worked out as a substitute for City, one that’s played a half-hour or more just twice in the Premier League. In 209 minutes as a Citizen, Lampard has netted thrice and added two assists. That rate throttles his production of last season at Chelsea, where he scored five times and posted four assists in 1700-plus minutes.
That means last year he posted a point once every 189 minutes as opposed to this early season’s 41.8 minutes. That’s nearly double the production of his incredible 2009-10 season, which saw him get a goal or assist once every 82.5 minutes.
And while there are certainly other things that go into resolving whether a player has been successful other than soccer’s archaic assist, Lampard’s loan success at City asks a key question, and it’s not whether Gerrard would be better served as a substitute at this part in his career.
“There are probably many things Steven would have to think about in a decision like this but it certainly won’t be money. I have spoken to him often enough and at length and that won’t be the case.”
“No matter how good a player has been, once they come towards those final years then as manager you are having to think how you can get the best out of the player.”
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The query is this: Can Steven Gerrard really exist as a full-time and not-always-used substitute at Anfield? After all, among the false equivalencies of comparing the two former England stars is that Lampard is on loan to Man City. The pressures that come along with both a legendary player swallowing his pride and a manager handling the possible acrimony from the locker room, press and fans — let alone the legend — is a tricky road to travel. Is Rodgers the man for this job? Is Gerrard the player?
With big dollars calling across the pond, perhaps a clean break would be best for both the parties, but Liverpool also has the chance to do what successful big clubs do: work it out with the player. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs never left Manchester United, and is that so different a scenario? Perhaps, considering that Alex Ferguson set the standard of club over individual far before those questions arrived at Old Trafford.
What do you think? Can Gerrard the sometimes or often sub work out at Liverpool?