Age, unfortunately, catches up with us all.
Things we could do in 2005 – on an emotional night in Istanbul, for example - have become more of a struggle nine years down the line.
It’s not through lack of ability, and it’s certainly not through lack of effort, it’s just that Father Time is keeping a closer eye on us than before and is starting to tap little more vigorously on his watch than he was in the past.
Take Steven Gerrard, Liverpool’s talisman for close to 15 years and a man who has, at times, single-handedly grabbed one of English football’s most prestigious clubs by the scruff of the neck and carried them on his shoulders.
Are his powers on the wane though? Is a man who has appeared almost superhuman at times starting to lose his Midas touch?
Gerrard is now 34 years of age – not old by any means, but unquestionably closer to the end of his career than the peak of it.
The unthinkable is now actually being contemplated on Merseyside – Captain Marvel may be allowed to see out his current contract and walk away from his boyhood heroes as a free agent.
Has he, though, been offering enough to suggest that he is deserving of fresh terms? Opta stats suggest maybe not.
Looking at the figures below, if you multiply this season’s figures by three, you will end up pretty close to the number from previous years – going by appearances made.
Gerrard may, of course, go through a purple patch and significantly enhance his markings, but if things continue on their current course, he will fall significantly short in key areas such as goals scored, assists, shots on target, tackles and accurate passes.
|Position||Team||Season||Goal Assist||Goals||Touches||Total Cross||Total Scoring Att||Total Tackle||Duel Lost||Accurate Pass||Appearances||Mins Played|
How then, do Liverpool justify offering a new deal to a player – regardless of his standing as a club icon – when his influence is not what it once was and the time may be approaching for new options to be explored?
It is also worth considering what Gerrard will have made of the interest in his services hinted at by Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini.
The former England captain has admitted that he is not yet ready to hang up his boots and if he is allowed to head for the exits at Anfield, the lure of the Etihad Stadium would be difficult to resist – even for a man with Liverpool red coursing through his veins.
There is still one glaring omission on his distinguished CV, and a spell at City will present him with an opportunity to right a few wrongs.
FA Cup winner - tick. League Cup winner – tick. UEFA Cup winner – tick. Champions League winner – tick. England skipper – tick. 100 international caps – tick. Premier League winner...erm, almost.
It remains unimaginable that Liverpool would allow Gerrard to move on, especially if there is any chance of him linking up with a top-flight rival. Surely there is a role for him past the end of this season and beyond, isn’t there?
The decision, though, rests with the powers-that-be at Anfield and if they decide that it is time for a change, their loss could be Gerrard’s, and possibly City’s, gain.
It is also worth nothing that there is little room for sentiment at the very highest level of sport. This is a cut-throat, results-driven business and eventually there comes a time when even modern day heroes have to be moved out of the limelight with the greater good in mind.