Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have been the heartbeat of Liverpool for over a decade, but both came in for criticism as the Reds slipped to their lowest league finish since 1999. The two Scousers have become synonymous at the club, but both have repeatedly spoken of their disappointment at never having won the Premier League, the only major honour they have failed to do so. But they are running out of time, and after last season it seems a million miles away.
Gerrard was, in a way, a victim of his own success. It would have been hard for him to top his 2008/09 performance, in which he won the Football Writers Player of the Year award. However, no-one could’ve predicted the contrast in fortune Gerrard would endure, which mirrored that of his club. He looked, at times, a shadow of his former self. There were many games in which he failed to even get a shot on target.
This from a man who would previously smash a goal in from 30 yards without anyone batting an eyelid. He did remind people that he is not a spent force with classic ‘Gerrard-esque’ strikes against Bolton and Burnley, but in the biggest game of the season, the Europa Leauge semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Gerrard went missing in both legs.
Carragher has also had his fair share of flack, albeit not enough to warrant the criticism he has received for his call up to the England World Cup squad. He, too, was poor against Atletico, failing to clear Diego Forlan’s goal in the first leg, and it looks as if age is starting to catch up with him. Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel both have time on their side, and it may be the case that Benitez eases Carragher out in a similar way to Sami Hyypia. However, he can certainly still do a job if he can put this season behind him.
The love Gerrard and Carragher have for the club will hopefully inspire them to raise their game for next season. Both players are now in their 30s and won’t be around forever. They won’t want their careers to fizzle out with poor performances. They both want to, and can still, make a difference before the end, starting with next season.
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