Liverpool Focus - Gerrard well worthy of contract extension
Steven Gerrard was given the weekend off as Liverpool edged past Blue Square Premier side Mansfield in the FA Cup 3rd round tie on Sunday and many supporters would suggest that the England and Reds’ skipper deserved his rest. Some have questioned Gerrard’s performances and usefulness to the team this season, but the statistics show that the 32-year-old midfielder is still one of the most productive players not just for his team, but in the entire division.
Fitness has played a key part in Gerrard’s displays this season. Last term, he completed just 1218 minutes of Premier League football throughout the whole campaign and at times it appeared as though age was finally catching up with the player. However, this time around, with Liverpool just over 50% of the way through the season, the Reds’ star player has been on the pitch for every single minute of top-flight action for Brendan Rodgers’ men. As a result, Gerrard’s influence has increased to levels perhaps not seen since the 2009/2010 season.
Not only is Gerrard Liverpool’s second top-scorer in the league this season with four goals, he has also claimed an impressive eight assists in the top-flight so far this term – more than any other player. In addition to this, only Yaya Toure, Mikel Arteta and Michael Carrick have completed more passes than Gerrard this season – suggesting that Rodgers’ skipper is adapting well to the methods of his manager. He also ranks highly in the list of top crossers this term with 151 – only Leighton Baines and Gareth Bale have produced more deliveries.
For a player who has often played in a deeper role under Rodgers, Gerrard has done well to transform his game and remains a key asset for Liverpool. While some have argued that the England captain has not been performing to his usual high standards – there have indeed been games where the midfielder has not looked entirely sharp – the statistics prove otherwise. Gerrard has scored or created a goal in each of Liverpool’s last six league games and remains one of the most dangerous players for the Reds and in the Premier League.
There can be no surprises then that Rodgers is looking to extend the contract of his star midfielder. The manager recently praised Gerrard’s displays, saying: "Steven has a real hunger to succeed. He's 32 years of age, but he's still got so much left. He applies himself every day, he eats well, rests well, recovers well, works well. This is a guy who has led his life focused purely on being a footballer. And that allows you to go on playing well into your 30s." With difficult away fixtures against Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City on the horizon, Rodgers will be hoping that Gerrard can keep performing to his current standards as Liverpool look to climb the Premier League table.
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