Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard faced the indignation of being handed his marching orders only a minute or so after being introduced to one of his side’s biggest games of the season this weekend just gone.
The stage was set for two top four hopefuls to slog it out to stake their claim for supremacy in this year’s edition of what has become a historic rivalry, but in the end Manchester United ran out fairly comfortable winners. Their cause was drastically aided when the man Liverpool usually turn to as a saviour got himself sent off for a ridiculous stamp on Ander Herrera.
Naturally Gerrard was the first to hold his hands up and plead guilty following the match, suggesting that he’d let his club, and their loyal fans, down. Yet like it or not he’s been torn apart by the British media anyway today, with the Daily Mirror giving him an overall performance rating of zero.
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Now whilst that might seem fairly acceptable given that his only contribution to the action was to trudge off in what must have been a humiliating experience, it’s less than what both The Sun and The Times offered the Anfield legend - The Sun gave him one and The Times two.
That’s right, two. You’re left to wonder just how bad a cameo would have to be in order to get below that in The Times’ estimations. Perhaps attack the fourth official? By-pass the pitch altogether and start a fight in the opposite stand?
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It’s needless to say the reaction from Gerrard’s discrepancy has taken the internet by storm, and it certainly won’t have been the way he imagined taking part in his last encounter with United. For Louis van Gaal it will have been with delight that he watched the 34-year-old trudge off into the dressing room; for Brendan Rodgers it would have been with disbelief.
Life after Gerrard
Over the course of his entire career Gerrard has been nothing but a stalwart on Merseyside, and when he goes there will be a huge void to fill regardless of the fact that his abilities have somewhat waned over the past year. Arguably the biggest task will be choosing his successor as captain, which by all accounts isn’t a foregone conclusion despite the way Jordan Henderson has put himself about this campaign.
The likes of Emre Can, Martin Skrtel and even Mamadou Sakho have been mooted as potential new skippers, though none of those three come close to comparing to Gerrard. And whilst Henderson has plenty of work to do if he’s to ever fill the boots of Liverpool’s favourite son he’s got a head start virtue of the fact that he’s been mentored by the man himself.
Liverpool fans, are you still gutted to have to see Gerrard leave this summer? What rating would you have given his brief display against United? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below...