Is Steven Gerrard the best midfielder of a generation?

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Steven Gerrard, the best midfielder of a generation, the loyal one club man, the Anfield legend and esteemed Liverpool captain.

For years Gerrard has been lorded by the Liverpool faithful as one of the greatest midfielders the Premier League has ever seen. However, now that his career in the north-west has come to an end, maybe it is time to take a moment and consider this view.

Is he really the best midfielder we've seen, better than Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard, even Yaya Toure? Or is it merely a distorted view by a group of fans to whom Gerrard can do no wrong?

Lets start with the comparisons to Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes. Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher had a now infamous debate last year about the three with Neville saying Scholes was "the best player I've ever played with, a unique talent", Carra hit back by suggesting that if Scholes was so good, why did A) he get moved out wide for england to accommodate Gerrard and B) why did Fergie go and buy Veron.

As many Manchester United fans will testify to, Scholes was an exceptional talent. He was a brilliant midfielder, the likes of who Zinedine Zidane and Xavi looked up too. A metronome of a footballer he dictated games and at his peak United were a completely different team when Scholes wasn't playing. 

Gerrard has now moved to that so called 'quarterback role' that Scholes used to operate in for United and his ability to hit a 50-yard pass has not been diminished. He is as accomplished as ever in keeping his team ticking over, but it doesn't quite have the same feel as Scholes did.

Maybe it's an age thing or maybe its because Scholes was surrounded by comparatively better players, but more on that later.

Moving on to the comparison with Frank Lampard. He is the highest goalscoring midfielder in Premier League history. One of only two midfielders to score 20 plus goals a season from midfield. The other being Yaya Toure last season for Manchester City.

This puts Gerrard in a tricky spot. As many refer to him usually as more of a number ten in his day he drove through midfield and scored goals, so far 119 in his Liverpool career. Now when comparing him to Lampard, as Neville and Carragher did in their debate, Carra asserted that Lampard would be bottom of the three. However, Lampard has scored 147 goals for Chelsea, substantially more than Gerrard for Liverpool, playing in roughly the same role. 

Is it then fair to describe Gerrard as a mix of the two, a sort of Scholes/Lampard hybrid? A player who can score goals from midfield but if needs be can drop back and control the game? This seems to be the fairest way of viewing Gerrard. 

There is a another view, sometimes among Liverpool fans, but also amongst others as well that given the right team and right manager Gerrard would have won the Premier League title. They argue he has been the best player for Liverpool for many years and constantly driven them on.

However, again there are issues with this view. Liverpool have twice come close to winning the league, once in 2008/09 and last year before the infamous Gerrard slip. Furthermore, Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005 so clearly some of the teams he played in weren't that bad. 

There is no denying that Gerrard is a brilliant footballer who has pushed Liverpool to victory on many occasions, a loyal club man (just) he has been a constant influence on the game and the Premier League.

But, perspective has to be applied, he was never quite the metronomic footballer Scholes was, nor was he the goalscoring machine Lampard was. A hybrid? Maybe, but no matter your opinion on the man, he will be sorely missed by Liverpool and English football alike. 

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