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Thursday 14 December 2017

Stevie Gerrard victory parade gathers steam

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard

BY the time a player reaches the point where he's racked up 700 appearances for his club, there isn't much he can do which doesn't set a new record of some kind or other.

It was Ryan Giggs turn last season and Jamie Carragher too and since Gerrard announced that he would be leaving Liverpool for a new life in California he has been on a grand, dragged out lap of honour and while there is Cup to be fought for, the rallying call at Anfield will be to get him to a final.

The dream is still a possibility after a dramatic turnaround against Bolton. Down to an Eidur Gudjohnsen penalty and almost out, Gerrard produced the pass which allowed Raheem Sterling to equalise and the man touted as his successor, Philippe Countinho, won it with a moment of genius.

embarrassed

Gerrard is probably embarrassed by it all and given half a chance, would probably head for some quality time with Robbie Keane, house-hunting on Mulholland Drive or, who knows, out by the beach.

An FA Cup win would be a consolation prize and an uphill battle to finish fourth hardly filled with glory. All this underpinned by an endless series of lingering moments, every one filled with regrets and the sound of hollow praise.

Brendan Rodgers never seems to tire when it comes to pouring out the treacle for Gerrard but even he must be sick telling journalists that his captain is a grand lad. There will be plenty more of it. Sky will lay it on thick when the season turns into May and Gerrard watches while another Premier League title is decided and he sits empty-handed.

But Liverpool fans are hard-headed enough to see through the flannel and focus their concerns on the gap he will leave behind when he heads for LA and lunch dates with President Obama.

And Rodgers is beginning to move on as well, increasingly talking up some of his improving team and making some optimistic forecasts.

He has made a case for two men so far with the ability to step in and take over the role as the Kop's talisman, his most recent for Philippe Coutinho and before him Jordan Henderson.

Henderson's promotion from average and occasionally freakishly good to world class by Rodgers involves a leap of the mind which is difficult to make.

He can do some great things, Henderson, but he has never done it with enough consistency and without the support of Gerrard to suggest that he can become the senior partner in any future Liverpool midfield.

Coutinho is hardly the right fit either which is not to say that he can bring his huge talent to bear in a very effective and potentially inspirational way, but operating in the nether world between midfield and defence where clever players like him do their best work.

He has signed on for another five years and at the very least, Liverpool have a valuable asset secured for a long time.

But he'll never be Gerrard or lead any team in that way. Rodgers must spend a lot of money to replace him and that represents a big negative sum for the club. Gerrard will leave with a chorus of good wishes but with no transfer fee coming in, so John Henry and his buddies will need to loosen their moneybags if they are serious about replacing the irreplaceable.

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