All the talk at Liverpool nowadays seems to be about one man, Luis Suarez, for reasons both good and bad. This week both Suarez and the club have confirmed that they are in talks about a new contract as Liverpool move to head off some serious interest from French money club PSG. Such kneejerk negotiations show just how important Suarez has become to Liverpool as a club, he is arguably their star man despite a largely ineffective and controversial season, scoring only 11 goals in all competitions and missing 9 games due to bans.
Fans wonder if Suarez would have scored more goals had he not missed those games and also if Liverpool would have won more games with him in the team. The question that goes around in my mind is different and isn’t even about Luis Suarez, it is about Steven Gerrard – if Gerrard had played more this season, would Liverpool have won more and with Gerrard in the team would they have scored more? For me it is a yes. Forget Suarez, Gerrard is still the main man, but Liverpool have to learn to live without him.
Gerrard has been restricted to only 13 league games so far this season as he remains on target to beat last seasons total league appearances by just 2 games. The importance of Gerrard to Liverpool was plain to see as he burst back on to the scene hitting a hat-trick in the 3-0 win over rivals Everton, making history in the process – he simply makes Liverpool tick. This season Gerrard has hit 5 league goals in 13 games, Suarez has hit 6 goals in 23 league games.
The stats tell the story that Gerrard is still the heartbeat of the club, but Liverpool know they can no longer rely on Stevie G. Liverpool’s management are having to accept the fact that Gerrard, Carragher and Kuyt do not have a long term future at the club as the club continues its transition to find new heroes that can drive the club forward into a new era.
It is no wonder Liverpool are backing Suarez so readily, he is the best of a bad bunch. I haven’t heard one Liverpool fan sing the praises of Downing, Adam, Henderson or Carroll, all of these players are classed as flops based on this seasons performances. Despite splashing the cash, Liverpool are no further forward than they were last season, that’s if they do manage to finish sixth.
Liverpool have to find suitable replacements for Gerrard and Carragher, but it is no easy task. The summer is going to be a big one for Liverpool, Gerrard and Carragher have big boots to fill and who can fill them. Liverpool haven’t got time to waste waiting for youth to develop, if the team is to again challenge the top four, they will have to buy big. Confident talent scout Comolli will really have to prove his worth.
For me this season for Liverpool was one of total transition again. New players arrived and now know what is expected of them, the old guard have struggled to play enough games to keep Liverpool where they feel they should be. Next season could be exactly the same with new players coming in and there is no doubt Gerrard and Carragher will be thinking about retirement as Kuyt is set to leave. Bellamy is getting on and has his own injury problems that have blighted his career. I cannot see Liverpool returning to the top four for a good couple of seasons. Whatever happens, fans need to enjoy players like Gerrard and Carragher whilst they can because it could be a long time where another Stevie G or Carra are seen at Liverpool again.