Liverpool were left powerless to prevent a star-studded Real Madrid side from romping to a 3-0 victory in their Champions League Group B clash at Anfield on Wednesday night, as Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener and a Karim Benzema brace had the game all but decided after 45 minutes.
Fans were moved to recall their 4-0 drubbing of the Spanish giants in the last-16 of the 2008-09 competition at the time of the draw in late-August, but there was never hope of a repeat against the current holders on this occasion.
That past meeting in March 2009 was a game in which the old dynamic version of Steven Gerrard was at his very best, with the player who took to the pitch on Wednesday an entirely different commodity, reinvented due to his ageing legs.
Since swapping his energy-type game for more of a deep-lying playmaking role, there’s no hiding the fact that the 34-year-old skipper was overwhelmed at times by Real’s lethal counterattacks, though he did show some of the ball distribution skills which prove his continuing value to Liverpool.
|Vs Real Madrid||Total Tackle||Interception||Total Pass||Pass Acc||Total Final Third Passes||Final Third Pass Acc||Touches||Dispossessed||Mins|
Now entering the twilight of his career, Gerrard’s physical skills are only diminishing at this point but, while the defensive side of his game remains under question, it’s not every day that you come up against an opponent as formidable as Real.
Many were quick to write him off at the start of the season after a few lacklustre displays yet, while he is clearly no longer the dominating midfielder who used to be able take over games on his own, he still possesses the tactical nous and savvy awareness to deem him a core contributor to Brendan Rodgers’ side moving forward.