HEAD-TO-HEAD: Gerrard vs Leadbitter - Which captain is more influential?

Steven Gerrard

We preview the form of Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and Middlesbrough's Grant Leadbitter ahead of the Capital One Cup clash between the two sides tonight.

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Middlesbrough take on Liverpool tonight and they will be looking to add further misery to the Reds' season, after a poor start. 

Brendan Rodgers' side have struggled through the opening of the campaign and have lost their last two fixtures so they may be looking at this fixture against an in-form Championship side with trepidation. 

Middlesbrough have elevated themselves into the upper echelons of England's second tier with some fine performances and many feel they are set to be one of the surprise packages this year.

'Boro have adapted to Aitor Karanka's continental style and now play with one of the aesthetically pleasing brands of football in the second tier, meaning that this evening's match at Anfield is set to be a tantalising prospect.

The two club's contrasting starts can be summed up by the form of their respective captains.

Whilst Steven Gerrard has struggled to make an impact in the heart of Liverpool's team, Grant Leadbitter has been a revelation for Middlesbrough.

 

  GoalsGoal AssistChances createdPassing AccuracyInterception GAMEFwd Pass GAMEAppearances
Grant Leadbitter 6 1 23 82.751091703057% 1.375 20.125 8
Steven Gerrard 1 0 10 85.802469135802% 0.6 18.8 5

Leadbitter is not renowned for his goalscoring form, but he has hit a purple patch and it is clear he is proving more of an influence for his side than Gerrard, at the moment.

The 28-year-old has scored all sorts of strikes, with his set-piece skills being particularly evident, and six goals in his eight appearances is a staggering return for the all-action midfielder.

It was the sort of figures that Gerrard was creating when at his best, but he is proving to be rather off the pace at the moment. 

Indeed, Leadbitter has created considerably more chances for his teammates in attacking positions than Gerrard, whilst his general play has also been more dynamic.

Although the former Sunderland man's passing accuracy may fall slightly below Gerrard's, he has looked to move to ball forward more often, whilst he has also been more effective in a shielding sense - regularly intercepting opposition passes.

Of course, the caveat is that he is proving this much of a threat at a lower-level than Gerrard, but the two captains will be in direct comparison tonight and Leadbitter will be determined to continue to show his counterpart up. 

If 'Boro are to cause an upset he is likely to be key to his side's chances, too, and Liverpool will have to be very wary of a player whose form is amongst the best in the whole of England. 

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