LIVERPOOL: Steven Gerrard’s 600th appearance for Liverpool – a 1-1 home draw against Newcastle – came with the club at an awkward crossroads.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has been working to redefine the club’s style of play since arriving in the summer and while the American owners have promised to be patient, the same does not apply to the Anfield fans.
Liverpool have spent all of the current season in the bottom half of the table and lost their holders’ grip on the League Cup when they collapsed 3:1 at home to Swansea in midweek. Adding to the embarrassment was the fact that Swansea were Rodgers’s old club.
Gerrard, at 32, is no longer the massive ‘force of nature’ that he once was. However he has been hailed as the “greatest player in Liverpool’s history” by Jamie Carragher, his team-mate and old friend.
Carragher said: “This club has had lot of special players but for me he’s No1. We’re talking about an iconic figure. “People talk about Kenny Dalglish and Billy Liddell, then there’s (Graeme) Souness, (John) Barnes and (Ian) Rush.
“Kenny obviously won a lot more but Steven’s not been fortunate enough to play in what you would call an absolutely great Liverpool side. For me that adds to what he’s done. His performances in the 2005 Champions League final and 2006 FA Cup final took him to another level.
“Football is a team game and everyone plays their part, but every team has a standout player and he’s been that for us. You are never going to get another Steven Gerrard. The stories about what Steven did in the big games will be passed down from fathers to sons for the next 30, 40, 50 years.”
Stories will also be passed down about Luis Suarez. Liverpool went a goal down to Yoann Cabaye a minute before half-time but dominated the second half and deserved a magnificent 67th minute from the Uruguayan. He controlled a long through ball from Jose Enrique on his chest on the run, eluded Fabrizio Coloccini and stepped around keeper Tim Krul to score from close range.
With seven minutes remaining Coloccini was sent off for a reckless challenge on Suarez but Liverpool could not capitalise. Rodgers’s priority in January will be a goal-scoring centre-forward to ease the pressure on Suarez . . . and Gerrard.