Liverpool: Clear As Day 2013-14 Issue 5
The fifth instalment of Vital Liverpool's latest serialising of editor Gavin John Day's acclaimed Clear As Day football column...
During the course of the past season Vital Liverpool editor Gavin John Day has continued to pen his monthly Clear As Day column for LFC fanzine Anfield Roar.
With the campaign now over we are delighted to be able to share these articles with you and will be publishing the series at regular intervals over the coming weeks.
In this instalment, the fifth Clear As Day of the 2013-14 season, Gavin looks at the contributions of Steven Gerrard and begins to consider a future without him.
Clear As Day 2013-14 #5
Originally published: December 2013
There will be one less iconic bloke kitted out in red and running around delivering presents for others this festive season.
Thankfully for our younger readers, jolly old Saint Nick hasn't fired the elves, nor sent Donner, Blitzen and co. to a RSPCA rehousing programme, and is still scheduled to do his annual rounds on Christmas Eve.
Steven Gerrard, however, will be a notable absentee for many football fans around the world as the Premier League undertakes its end of year fixture pile-up without the Liverpool captain.
The 33-year-old, out until January with a hamstring strain, still embodies everything that is good about the football club and recent talk of his ongoing demise is premature.
Sure, Gerrard's game has had to change with age but his influence remains and, with the exception of Luis Suarez, he still represents our best and most consistent performer.
Up until last weekend, the club legend had started all 17 of Liverpool's league and cup games so far this season, contributing three goals and six assists.
In the 15 Premier League games alone he has completed 1,015 passes, with a success rate of 87%, and created 34 chances for others.
Although Gerrard clearly covers less ground than in his pomp, even his attacking thrusts forward remain dangerous and well-timed; just look at the late goal against Poland which secured England`s qualification to next summer's World Cup in Brazil.
From set pieces his powers have certainly not diminished as the spectacular strike against Hull City and assists for all four of the goals against Fulham prove.
The skipper has always been about more than just a statistical contribution anyway; often his shear presence and will-to-win are enough to spur the team on.
Gerrard's career is littered with outstanding moments and telling contributions, and, although I believe he has plenty more left in him, the next few weeks will represent an interesting glimpse into the future.
The absence of Jamie Carragher, who retired last summer, is still being felt around Anfield so it is hard to fully comprehend what life after Gerrard will be like.
That moment will inevitably come of course and in the meantime the likes of Joe Allen, Jordan Henderson and Luis Alberto will be keen to prove the club already possesses viable alternatives.
Last Sunday's stunning 5-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, a ground where we had lost on our previous six visits, showed that Brendan Rodgers' side can certainly cope on the odd occasion.
The task now is to do it over a longer period and then ultimately to do it without Gerrard, who could conceivably be third in the all time Liverpool appearances list by the end of the season, permanently.
With further away fixtures at Manchester City and Chelsea to play before 2013 is done, it will be interesting to see where we stand when the New Year arrives.
At the time of writing the Reds sit second and given our next game, against Cardiff City at Anfield, is a 12.45pm kick-off on Saturday we may well be top of the pile by the time current leaders Arsenal next take to the field.
It is still a little too much for fans to expect that to remain the case until May but a top four finish now looks more realistic than ever.
Hopefully, with Gerrard and fellow England international Daniel Sturridge back fit, and some new recruits in January, we can push on and improve further as the season develops.
Meanwhile, in the spirit of the festive season (and because I'm slightly under the word count!), I will leave you this month with a couple of my favourite Christmas cracker jokes:
What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney?
What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck?
A Christmas Quacker!
Merry Christmas one and all...
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Previous articles in this series2013-14Clear As Day Issue 1Clear As Day Issue 2Clear As Day Issue 3Clear As Day Issue 42012-13Clear As Day Issue 1Clear As Day Issue 2Clear As Day Issue 3Clear As Day Issue 4Clear As Day Issue 5Clear As Day Issue 6Clear As Day Issue 7Clear As Day Issue 8Clear As Day Issue 9Follow Gavin on Twitter @superbag
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