Michael Owen has backed Liverpool’s decision to retain the services of captain Steven Gerrard
The 34-year-old midfielder’s current contract with the Reds runs out at the end of season, and club manager Brendan Rodgers has said that the veteran has been offered a new deal.
Gerrard, who has been at Liverpool his entire career, has yet to accept it, but many suspect that he eventually will.
These days the former England international plays in a holding role, but he has still been struggling so far this season.
Despite his impressive performances in a similar role last season, doubts have emerged on the longevity of Gerrard over the past few weeks.
Many football followers believe that the midfielder is past his prime and has no place in the Liverpool team, but Owen, a former Reds star, insists that his compatriot remains important to the team.
“I think he has a lot to offer still,” the 34-year-old wrote on Sportlobster.com when asked why Rodgers has offered Gerrard a new contract.
“He may not be the Gerrard of 5 yrs ago but even if he's slowed down a yard, he's still the best midfielder at the club. Unfortunately he's reached the stage of his career whereby every bad game he has it gets attributed to his age.”
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who played alongside Owen and Gerrard at Anfield, has also backed the club’s decision.
“There’s going to be times when Gerrard has to come off the bench,” he told Sky Sports. “It was 0-0 (against Stoke City) when he came on and he wasn’t involved in the goal but he can make an impact from the bench.
“The manager can’t expect a player of that age, no matter his quality or what he’s done before, to play 90 minutes every single week, three times a week.
“He’s still a massive part of the team, never mind the squad. He is a vital part of the best team Liverpool put out but he can’t play every week. That’s just nonsensical.”
Pretty much everyone who has watched football agrees on the fact that Gerrard cannot play in every single match and needs to be rested from time to time.
The question is whether Gerrard would be happy with such a role. A hugely competitive footballer, the Englishman probably knows deep down that he is past his prime, but will he not get disappointed if he is regarded as an ‘impact sub’?
Liverpool have made their decision clear: they want Gerrard to stay.
Does Gerrard want to?