Football

Liverpool could do with old boy Jonjo Shelvey

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Watching England's so-called 'biggest rivalry' between Manchester United and Liverpool was a strange affair last Saturday.

It had the feeling of a friendly or League Cup match that neither club really cared about, lacking passion and familiarity as each club's new look sides occupied the field.

With many of the Manchester club's team under Sir Alex Ferguson either at the tether end of their career, thus sold, or retired, only David de Gea, Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young of the 'old guard' were involved in Saturday's proceedings.

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With respects to Liverpool, Simon Mignolet, Martin Skrtel and Lucas Leiva were the only players that made the pitch for Brendan Rodgers' team that had played in the 'Ferguson era'.  

It is not because of Ferguson alone that it's billed the 'Ferguson era' - it is because there has been so many personnel changes at each club since he retired from the dugout just over two years ago, which makes the meetings between the two clubs so vastly different.

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Liverpool have lost some players to other clubs in the last year or so, most notably Steven Gerrard, who always had a significant influence on games like these. But they've also had a few injuries to the likes of Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, who seems like he has left, such is the amount of time he has spent on the treatment table.

One man who left Liverpool two years ago, and who could have made a positive impact on this game and throughout the upcoming season in a positive way, is Jonjo Shelvey.

Sold from Liverpool to Swansea City for what is an absolute snip in today's money at £5million, he is the closest player, technique and style-wise, that Liverpool and England have to Steven Gerrard, and would have added much needed bite to Saturday's match.  

Shelvey's cross splitting passes, often long but in no way 'hoofs', were Gerrard's specialities, and he could have made up a good, balanced midfield at Liverpool with Henderson providing the covering and solidity, Coutinho and Lallana providing the flair and creativity, and Shelvey doing a mixture of all those things.

Rodgers will undoubtedly regret not giving Shelvey more game time, though admittedly, at this point he still had Gerrard marshalling the midfield.

People seem to forget, when criticising Rodgers, that his side have essentially lost four key players from the exciting team of 2013/14, with Luis Suarez, Gerrard and Raheem Sterling all departing, while the saga of Sturridge's injury woes continues, though there's also an argument that Rodgers had the money to suitably replace their departed stars.

The end of this season marks a significant anniversary for Liverpool - it will be 26 years since their last league triumph in 1990 - and while Shelvey alone wouldn't transform the Reds into title contenders, he's certainly an upgrade on much of the current bunch in the side and could be worth a punt in January or next summer.

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Topics:
Premier League
Liverpool
Football

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