The career of Steven Gerrard, despite its glorious highlights of FA Cup triumphs, the Liverpool captaincy and Champions League glory, has always been criticised in one way or another.
From the days where he was constantly judged against Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes, through recent years where his ability to play a deeper role (central midfielder instead of off the forwards) has been questioned, and of course with the underlying failure of never winning the Premier League, critics have always managed to have a poke at Gerrard.
The statistics, however, not only show that this deeper role in which he has been deployed recently is working well, but that he is actually excelling as the top performer in this position.
A study was undertaken regarding the relative performance over the previous season of over 200 players in various positions, with many analysed statistically in more than one role to
represent the fluidity of the modern game as well as versatility of many players in the league.
Gerrard himself was analysed as a central midfielder, instead of a defensive or attacking midfielder, in order to represent his role at Liverpool FC last season.
The analysis for central midfielders concerned retention of the ball as well as ability to create opportunities, using statistics for the likes of pass accuracy, chance creation and frequency of dispossession.
Under these indices Gerrard not only came out top, but was ahead of the rest of the pack by a considerable distance. Here lies proof that the Liverpudlian is far from finished in being amongst the big stars of the Premier League.
Readers may also find it interesting to note that recent Manchester United signing Marouane Fellaini actually finished bottom of the analysis of central midfielders, and was below average when judged as an attacking midfielder too.
So, it seems clear that the Belgian will have to improve if he is to live up to the impressive £27.5million price that David Moyes paid.
Therefore, it must be remembered that it is important not to merely listen to the hype of what is said around transfer deadline day, or merely accept the given opinions from sports pundits on television.
Indeed, it seems that statistics could well have a vital role in the future of football, both for coaching and transfer related purposes.
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