Earlier this week, Luis Suarez was hailed by Steven Gerrard as the best he has ever played with, and this weekend at Fulham the evidence was clearly there. Suarez played phenomenal, but surely Gerrard is the best player that Suarez has ever played with right?
After last week’s below par performance, some football fans have questioned if Gerrard is past his time and whether he should think about hanging up his boots, but this weekend Gerrard showed why this should have never even crossed their minds, putting in a performance to delight the Kop once again and show why he is such a world class footballer.
After last week’s poor performance at the Emirates, Liverpool were eager to put the negatives behind them and get back to their winning ways, and they did just that with a dominant display over a Fulham side, that have played 33 times at Anfield and only won once, adding to a miserable campaign for the Londoners.
With Liverpool moving back into a 4-4-2 formation, one highly familiar to Gerrard, they were able to find their form again with the battle being won in midfield. With Lucas playing as a defensive midfielder, this allowed Gerrard a bit more freedom to help out in attack and dictate the play, as he did, amassing a huge 68 out of 71 passes (91%), considering he only played 67 minutes before being replaced. Compared to the match against Arsenal, he improved his passing accuracy, and the amount of passes forward also increased, by more than 10%. He also produced twice as many crosses with 67% finding a Liverpool player as a means to none being accurate in last week’s game.
Gerrard played a key role in each of the goals, assisting two. Having one of the best deliveries of the ball in the world, Fulham were in for a horrid time as they gave away a set piece and paid the price with a goal for Liverpool. A free kick from the right was whipped in by Gerrard and deflected in by Amorriebieta. Moments later, Liverpool had won a corner kick from the same side, with Gerrard, again, whipping in a ball for Skrtel to head into the net.
Gerrard wasn’t finished there he knocked the ball through Berbatov’s legs on the left before switching a low ball across the field into Henderson, on the right, who played a pass through to Suarez who finished coolly.
At the start of the second half, Liverpool started where they left off. On the 54th minute, Gerrard, teaming up with Henderson, won the ball, and broke free playing Suarez through on goal to get his second goal of the game, and Gerrard getting his second assist. Gerrard, showing that he has more of an impact on the game when given more freedom as a box to box midfielder rather than sitting deep, created four chances and was vital to the win.
Liverpool’s Star Man
Liverpool fans will be hoping Gerrard stays fit throughout the season as he is, and always will be, their talisman regardless of the players around him because even though Suarez grabbed the headlines this week, Gerrard was the key to Liverpool’s win. And if the Merseyside club, especially Gerrard, can keep up with performances like these then there is no reason why they can’t get a Champions League spot, and maybe, just maybe, contend for the title.