Under-fire Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard had his best game of the season in a number of areas during the Reds’ 2-1 victory over West Brom on Saturday.
The retired England international has been under pressure this season following his side’s poor start to the season as a number of observers question his declining ability.
In Gerrard’s defence, a number of recruits this summer has meant that it may take time for the new players to adapt to Brendan Rodgers’ methods, affecting the performances of those already at the club.
In a must win game at Anfield, the Reds overcame a stubborn West Brom side with a better performance all round as Gerrard showed glimpses of his form from last season to complete his best game of this campaign in three key areas.
|Position||Team||Vs||Key Passes||Shotst||Fwd Pass||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Steven Gerrard||MF||Liverpool||West Brom||5||3||21||1||90|
|Steven Gerrard||MF||Liverpool||Aston Villa||4||0||20||1||90|
|Steven Gerrard||MF||Liverpool||Man City||2||1||18||1||90|
|Steven Gerrard||MF||Liverpool||West Ham||0||0||19||1||90|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the 34-year-old midfielder took more of an authority on the game by becoming more involved in an attacking sense.
When Brazilian midfielder Lucas had a number of injury layoffs last season, Gerrard was the man tasked to drop deeper as a lack of defensive midfield cover left his side in trouble.
However, Gerrard excelled in his role, proving capable of protecting the back four when necessary as well as providing his usual creative prowess in the final third.
This season, perhaps the lack of attacking intent has been his downfall and the reason behind his average form – yet his game looked more like its old self against the Baggies.
Gerrard completed five key passes, had three shots on goal and made 21 forward passes – higher statistics than in any other game he has played this season.
One of the Reds’ biggest positives from last season was their ability to outscore their opponents, yet this season that has so far been their downfall.
In order to get amongst the goals, Brendan Rodgers’ side need to take risks and one of them is removing the shackles from their skipper and allowing him to push forward with freedom.