The captain, the heart, the soul, the engine. Call him what you like, Steven Gerrard IS Liverpool Football Club. Born and raised in Merseyside, the scouser wears his heart on his sleeve and once again produced an outstanding display against bitter rivals, Manchester United. Not only because of his two quality penalties, but because of his overall work rate and determination to get one over on United at Old Trafford, and keep his own and his team’s title hope alive.
It isn’t really a derby unless there’s tackles flying in everywhere and cards being shown. Gerrard made 3 attempted tackles, only winning one of them, with a success rate of 33%. He was involved in 8 ground duels and won 6 of them (75%), and also won one of his 3 aerial duels. He did manage to win 2 free kicks; however he also committed 2 fouls, receiving a yellow card in the process. He made 3 total clearances, 2 headed, and also made 1 block.
Out of all the players on the pitch, Gerrard was probably the most efficient with and without possession. He took 72 touches, the second highest on his team just under Henderson. He was dispossessed only once and lost the ball 11 times. The skipper lead by example when winning the ball back, making a tremendous 12 ball recoveries. Out of these, 8 were made in the defensive third, 3 in the midfield third and 1 in the attacking third. He also made 3 interceptions.
Gerrard made a total of 40 passes out of an attempted 45, with a pass accuracy of 89%. Out of these passes, 13 of them (33%) went forward, 5 of them (11%) went back, 7 of them (18%) went left, and 15 of them (38%) went right. He attempted 4 crosses, 2 from open play and 2 from set pieces, and was successful on either of them. He also passed the ball into the penalty area twice.
He was successful with 4 out of his 6 attempted long balls, giving him a long ball accuracy of 67%. The number 8 was everywhere on the pitch, with 51% of his passes made in the defensive half and 49% made in the attacking half. He completed 22 out of 25 passes in the defensive half, with an accuracy of 88%, and completed 18 out of 24 in the attacking half, with and accuracy of 75%. Out of the passes made in the attacking half, 5 were made inside the final third and 4 were passed into the final third.
As we’re all aware, Gerrard is Liverpool’s best penalty taker, and has already scored from the spot 6 times already this season. The Liverpool skipper furthered this tally, scoring another 2 and being inches away from adding another after hitting the post with his last. He made a total of 5 attempts at goal, with 2 on target, 2 off target and 1 blocked. Excluding the blocked shot, Gerrard had a shot accuracy and chance conversion of 50%. He produced a shot, on average, every 21.75 minutes, being on target every 43.5 minutes.
Steven Gerrard’s performance was out of this world, as was every other Liverpool player’s, and United could not keep up. They were played off the park in a game where Liverpool went all guns blazing. Gerrard scored 2 penalties, missing one, in which he admitted to being complacent, but if England find themselves in a penalty shootout this summer, I know who I want to take the first. Liverpool are 4 points behind league leaders Chelsea with a game in hand and still have to play them at Anfield, and Gerrard above anyone will be looking forward to it with a chance to go into the driving seat for the title.