Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has been left delighted by his skipper’s contribution in an unfamiliar holding role this season.
As the Reds march towards their first domestic league title in 24 years, much has been said about the fabulous goalscoring form shown by the Merseysides – notching 93 goals in 34 Premier League games.
But with the forward positions pretty much picking themselves, the injury to Brazilian defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva meant that one of Liverpool’s other midfield stars had to adapt to a new role in the team.
Rodgers felt Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard was the most apt for the position, and believes the qualities he possesses and his performances this season have made him arguably Europe’s best controlling player.
'There are not many players who can do what he can: Be one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe and then switch to be up there as arguably the best controlling player', Rodgers is quoted by The Mirror.
'He’s a playmaker, unique; his intelligence and reading of the game allows him to orchestrate the game with those playmaking skills from that position.
'But he can also defend; tackle. And what he probably doesn’t get enough credit for as well is his reading of the game situations'.
And, according to Opta Stats, Rodgers' praise of his skipper is entirely justified.
|Team||Pos||Won Tackle / apps||Interception Won / apps||Ball Recovery / apps||Fwd Pass / apps||Total Att Assist / apps||Goals / apps||Apps||Mins|
The 33-year-old has performed his defensive duties well, averaging almost two tackles per game, 1.47 interceptions and seven ball recoveries.
Going forward, his attacking instincts are also on show. The Liverpool legend makes on average 22 forward passes per game, creating almost two chances and maintaining a scoring record of more than one in every three games.
Is Gerrard the best holding midfielder in the world this season ? Perhaps, but there's no denying his significant contribution to a fine Liverpool team which is just a few games away from their first ever Premier League title.