Liverpool legend Graeme Souness believes Seven Gerrard is struggling to adapt as a holding midfielder, but insists that the 34-year-old would still walk into any Premier League team’s starting XI.
After impressing in a deeper role last season, Gerrard’s performances have come under criticism so far this term, with some pinpointing the team’s slow start to the campaign on his perceived waning influence.
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Souness accepts that he might be finding it hard to come to terms with his new position but, after witnessing his 65th-minute free-kick in the weekend’s 1-1 draw with Everton, maintains that the Reds captain is still one of the most influential performers in the game.
‘I still believe Steven Gerrard is a real threat for Liverpool,’ he wrote in his Sky Sports column.
‘There has been a lot of negative talk about him in the last few weeks and I think he is finding it hard to come to terms with his new position as a holding midfield player.
‘To play in that position you need to have a completely different mind-set. Steven has been the outstanding player in the Premier League for close to 10 years and whenever he picked the ball up anywhere in the past, his first thought would be to make a clever pass, to get forward or to get a shot off.
‘Previously his role has been to do damage to the opposition, but now he needs to act completely differently and when he watches play develop in front of him he needs to be thinking “danger” all the time instead of looking to be the one to get on the ball and make the difference going forward.
‘He needs to be a more thoughtful player now and it will be a very different mind-set for him,’ Souness added. ‘However, I still think he has a very obvious goal threat, as we saw at the weekend against Everton.
‘And I still believe he is a fabulous player and he would still get in the starting XI of any team in the Premier League right now. He’s got to get in the Liverpool team – and I’d still say he can get in any starting XI.’