Steven Gerrard has been a tremendous servant for Liverpool and is without doubt one of the greatest players in the history of the club, but his deterioration over the last year has been clear for all to see.
The long-term captain has opted to leave his hometown club this summer in favour of a move to MLS with LA Galaxy, and the move appears best for all parties.
When Gerrard has featured for Liverpool this season, he has generally been poor and unable to make a significant impression on matches. The Reds look better without him in the side, meaning his decision to move on gives them an opportunity to consistently play their strongest team without having to fit in a club legend.
There comes a time in a player’s career where they lose the power and stamina in their legs to perform at the level we have seen in the past. Gerrard is at that stage right now.
West Brom knew that the Liverpool captain was unable to drive through them like he used to, so allowed him possession in deeper areas of the pitch regularly, meaning Gerrard’s impact on the game was restricted significantly.
He is not an effective deep-lying playmaker, Gerrard was always at his best in the role behind the striker but is barely able to get into those areas of the pitch anymore, barring set piece situations. In 90 minutes, Gerrard completed just one pass inside the West Brom penalty area.
When he is not in the team, Liverpool are an energetic and exciting side who possess some fantastic young talents with the speed and flair to trouble defences.
However, when Gerrard does feature, they carry much less of a threat as he slows down the quick transitions.
It says it all that Liverpool have won just 40% of their league games in which Gerrard has featured, compared to 88% in games that he has not played a part in.
Add to that the fact he cost his side any chance of picking up at least a point in the crucial clash with Manchester United, which the Reds lost 2-1 at Anfield last month. It was a game which saw him sent off just 40 seconds after he came on as a half time substitute.
It seems like quite a damning statement but the simple fact is that Liverpool are better without Gerrard in their side and will be able to progress much further on the pitch next season without their skipper.