This season promises to be an extremely long one if you are a Liverpool fan. Our campaign has got off to an underwhelming start to say the least as the form that our team found themselves in just six months ago seems to be a distant memory from some glorious, much fabled past.
The departure of Luis Suarez is certainly a big reason behind that while the injuries that Daniel Sturridge has succumbed to only adds to our misery. In the absence of these two highly talented individuals, the responsibility of changing the outcome of matches has shifted to the shoulders of other players. Steven Gerrard is obviously one of them. The other name is Raheem Sterling.
The two of them are undoubtedly Liverpool’s best players at the moment. But the burning question that can be posed right now is this. Which one of the two are more important to Liverpool Football Club? Has our Captain Fantastic been finally replaced as Liverpool’s most influential player? 19 year old Sterling is currently tied with Steven Gerrard as the Reds’ top scorer with three goals apiece. The midfield pair are also on the summit of the assists chart separated by just one assist as Sterling has been credited with two while Gerrard has been credited with just the one.
As you may see, both these supremely talented individuals cannot be separated by something as limiting as numbers. In the minutes category, the story remains pretty much the same. The two Englishmen have played each and every minute of Liverpool’s two Champions League matches and they also have the same number of Premier League appearances this season after playing in all eight of the Reds’ matches this season.
Steven Gerrard however has been ever present as he lasted the whole 90 minutes in each and every single one of our League games. Sterling on the other hand played the whole game on five occasions after being taken off around the 80 minute mark twice. This is the first instance where we see clear daylight between the two. If Brendan Rodgers thought that Raheem Sterling was still needed on the pitch to keep matters in his team’s favour, he would definitely have kept the number 31 on.
That however, was not the case. It was in fact, Sterling who was taken off while our skipper was still left on because his presence was needed. This point that I just made, is the first reason that proves that it is still Steven Gerrard who is our most important player. The second reason is the timing and importance of the goals that these two scored.
Raheem Sterling opened the deadlock while the scores were still 0-0 with goals against Southampton and Tottenham. Liverpool went on to win 2-1 and 3-0 respectively. His third goal was merely a consolation in our thrashing at Upton Park.
Gerrard’s goals were slightly more dramatic as he scored our only goal against Everton from a superb free-kick while his injury time spot kick gave us three points against a valiant Ludogorets side. His third goal was another successfully converted spot kick against Spurs which gave us a 2-0 lead in the game that ultimately finished 3-0 in our club’s favour.
The point that I am trying to make here is that most of Steven Gerrard’s goals swung the result in our favour by either getting us a win or a draw. Sterling’s goals of course were important as well, there are no such things as unimportant goals. But what I mean to say is that Raheem’s goals did not have that big an outcome on the result.
Keeping these facts in mind, I would say that Steven Gerrard is still the biggest fish in the Liverpool pond at this point of time and his influence on the outcome of matches are still invaluable although Raheem Sterling is starting to have an immense impact on games and it should be a matter of time before he replaces Stevie G as our most important player.