There was once a time, not too long ago, where with some level of certainty one could bet their life savings that Steven Gerrard would be the first name on the Liverpool team sheet.
Time and time again he would single handedly drag his team through matches and clinch a decisive result, none more so then 'that night in Istanbul'. Without him the Liverpool fans would be left wondering where the creative spark would come from, and the sheer thought of his absence would be enough to send fear through the Anfield faithful.
Yet recently that fear has started to evaporate away, largely due to the performances of his heir to be, Jordan Henderson.
Article continues below
Rise to prominence
Although now in his fourth season with the club, it is only in the last eighteen months that the ex-Sunderland man's assured midfield displays have catapulted him into wide acclaim. His relentless energy in the centre of the pitch, and desire to the cause has seen him develop into a potent force amongst the Premier League's elite, as well as an England star in the making.
Producing the winning goal in Liverpool's recent win over Swansea City, he is now displaying more of an attacking threat to his game, as well as a broader range of passing, thus showing his eagerness to improve as an all round footballer.
Article continues below
It is with increased confidence that his manager, Brendan Rodgers, can now look upon the 24-year-old as the man to take over baton from Gerrard in Liverpool's midfield. A previously unenviable duty that can only be compared only to that of David Moyes having to succeed the great, Sir Alex Ferguson, now appears a task that is not quite as daunting as it would once have been considered.
Passing of the baton
A period of transition has seen Gerrard's Liverpool appearances become all the more infrequent, coinciding with a time where Henderson has more than proved his worth. Taking over the captaincy in Gerrard's absence, he has shown himself to be a strong and able leader, often barking out instructions to his teammates, even to the great man himself when the two have shared the pitch together.
Having confirmed his forthcoming departure from Liverpool at the end of this season, the chance to see Gerrard don the famous red shirt diminishes with every game that passes. Still desperate to see their hero in action, there is no doubt that Gerrard will have a key role to play for the club between now and the end of the season.
However, with Liverpool in the ascendance of late, and a Champions League spot looming on the horizon, it awaits to be seen whether the form of Henderson will restrict his minutes on the pitch, as Rodgers may well opt to stick by his winning formula.
'Stevie', as he is affectionately known, will always remain a legendary figure at Liverpool, however, just like all footballers advancing into their mid-thirties, there comes a time when age starts to take its toll, and past moments of magnificence seem all the more distant.
Unfortunately for Liverpool fans, Gerrard is no exception. However they can rest assured that in Henderson they have a more then adequate replacement who will strive to emulate the great man.