With over 80 England caps to his name, a Champions League winners medal and countless other medals to boot some might claim it is a little premature to be calling the time on Steven Gerrard’s career when he is only 31 years old.
Steven Gerrard still has plenty of ambition, numerous targets – finals success with England and a Premiership title medal for Liverpool, to name just two -and age on his side. Many top players now play into their mid thirties or more. Importantly, he also has a lengthy contract with Liverpool. He isn’t just going to disappear into the sunset like a mercurial bountyhunter in a Sergio Leone western classic.
So just why, exactly, are so many Liverpool fans wondering if their captain’s career is drawing to a close? Well, the answer is in the numbers. The statistics and facts don’t lie, at least not purposely. Gerrard has played over 500 matches for Liverpool but he featured only twenty four times last season. Gerrard has scored over 140 goal for Liverpool but he has scored only nine in the past eighteen months. If we extend the timeline a little, and go back over the past thirty months, we can see he has scored only twenty one goals. Gerrard made a habit of scoring twenty plus goals a season whereas now he has that amount in almost two and a half. It’s a downward trend.
Indeed all proud supporters of Steven Gerrard will riposte the obvious, namely, that the talismanic midfield marshall has been injured, on and off, for the best part of the last two and a half years. That is true. It is also true, however, to note that injuries have a positive correlation next to age. The older a player gets the more injuries he usually suffers. And age waits for no man. Steven Gerrard is getting injured more, playing less, scoring less. His influence is waning.
A fine goal against Manchester United, as that scored in the feisty clash played a couple of rounds ago, appears to be an exception where once it was the expected. Now we expect to see Steven Gerrard sitting in the Anfield crowd supporting his team on akin to an influential fan.
Just today it was announced that Steven Gerrard has another injury, seemingly related to an infected ankle, and is set to be out for another indefinite period of time. The downward trend on Steven Gerrard’s great career continues. All football fans wish him the best recovery but the facts are there for all to see.
There are likely to be more moments of glory and perhaps even the odd success when it comes to the cup competitions but, all in all, the best of Steven Gerrard has probably been and passed.