Liverpool’s inspirational captain Steven Gerrard returned from injury during the recent 1-1 home draw against Blackburn Rovers and the midfield maestro could once again come off the bench when the Reds face high-flying Newcastle United on Friday. The Englishman is working his way back up to full fitness following a torrid year with fitness issues, but could he be the solution to Liverpool’s goalscoring problems?
Over the years, Gerrard has been a reliable source of goals for the Anfield outfit. Could it simply be that the Reds are missing the attacking talents of their captain? Since the beginning of the 2004-2005 season to the end of the last campaign, Gerrard scored 64 goals in the top-flight – an average of around nine goals per season. Not only has he known to be a potent threat in front of goal, but the 31-year-old has also been a great provider. He has been credited with 41 assists in his previous five full seasons – an average of eight assists per season. While Liverpool have coped reasonably well without their talismanic captain, it is fair to say that had Gerrard been fit for the first half of this campaign, the team could well have benefitted from another 10 goals.
So surely Liverpool will add to their low tally of goals when Gerrard returns to full fitness? According to Dalglish, it would be dangerous for the Reds to pin all their hopes on the former England captain. The Scot said: “He’s got everything but we can’t throw everything on to Steven. We can’t say ‘Steven is coming back, he’s going to be the one to do this or that.’ If we are going to be a one-man band then we have no chance. If we are going to appreciate what we have and respect the people who play with you and for you then we have a better chance.”
While Gerrard begins to find his feet once again after a lengthy lay-off and Suarez sits out the Newcastle clash through suspension, it would be the perfect time for misfiring striker Carroll to show the Kop he is the real deal. Carroll has found the net just twice in the league this season – compared to the impressive 11 goals he bagged for the Magpies at the same stage of the last campaign. But with Uruguayan Suarez facing an eight-match ban, Liverpool could finally adapt their game to get the best out of Carroll. The Newcastle fixture could indicate whether the Reds are ready to change the system for their most expensive ever player.
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