16 Apr 2015

Macca insists: Rodgers must unleash 'outstanding' Liverpool star against Aston Villa. Agree?

After serving a three-match suspension, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is available for selection again, but should he come straight back into the team for this weekend's FA Cup semi-final with Aston Villa?

According to Liverpool legend Steven McManaman, there's no debate: Gerrard must start. He told 5-Times:

“It’s nothing to do with sentimentality or romance or the fact that it’s his final game. All I think is: is he better than some of his team-mates in that position and I still think he is so I would play him.”

I absolutely agree with this. Despite his advancing years, Gerrard - hailed by Brendan Rodgers as 'outstanding - is still streets ahead of Lallana, Markovic, and Allen.

On the subject of Lallana - he may be fit for this weekend's game, but even if he is, Gerrard should start head of him, for the following reasons:

* Even at the age of 34, Gerrard is a better player than Lallana, and offers more to the team in terms of passing range/ability, and impact from set-pieces.

* Lallana has only 1 goal/1 assist in the last 15 games, so he's literally a passenger in the team. He's not having a specific, measurable creative impact, so why does he deserve to play?

* The only advantage Lallana has over Gerrard is his ability to press, but that is not his primary role; an attacking player - whose primary role is to score/create goals - shouldn't just stay in the team because he's good defensively.

* Rodgers even dumped Lallana in the right wing-back position against Swansea; would he do that if the midfielder offered a consistent threat behind the striker?

Prior to his stupid red card against Man United, Liverpool lost only once in twelve games (7 wins/4 draws), so it's clear that the team is capable of putting together a positive run with Gerrard in the team.

After the Blackburn victory, Gerrard may have to settle for a place on the bench, though. Rodgers played Coutinho as a false-9 in the FA Cup quarter-final, and he may go the same way for the semi-final, especially if Sturridge is not fit.

Joe Allen scored a rare goal in the last game, but I'd still replace him with Gerrard for the semi-final. To me, it's inconceivable to have Allen in the team ahead of LFC's captain. Who is the better player? The answer is obvious. As such, I'd like to see the following XI for the Villa game:

---------------- Mignolet

----- Can ------ Skrtel ------ Lovren

Johnson ---- Lucas -- Hendo ----- Moreno

---------- Gerrard --- Coutinho

--------------- Sterling

* Even if Sturridge is fit again, he should stay on the bench. If he's sitting down, he can't get injured. Stranger things have happened, though...

* Johnson should pay RWB or not at all. I'm no fan of Johnson, but OPTA stats categorically prove that he is better defensively than Sterling and Markovic.

* I never like to see players dropped after scoring, but Allen rarely scores goals, and Gerrard's inclusion is (IMO) better for the team.

There's one other thing to consider: after three games out, Gerrard is well rested, and he'll be desperate to make amends after the Man United dismissal.




  1. Murale Balakrishan3:30 am, April 16, 2015

    Good line up. Minus Johnson and play Ibe there.

  2. Ibe definitely would've started but he's cup tied.

  3. Agree, Gerrard is still the best player in our squad.

  4. Gerrard to start but not in midfield, he adds that extra goal threat without fear of being overrun.

  5. I hope gerrard comes in as an impact sub. He should be used as far up the pitch as possible, he's a goal thread and we don't have many players that know where to put the ball in

  6. Mignolet
    Can, skrtel, lovren
    Johnson, lucas, allen, moreno
    Gerrard, sterling, coutinho

  7. He keeps getting cup tied. I blame BR

  8. Gerrard has the brain but does not have the legs.

  9. Gerrard should start and sub around 60-70mins mark . Players like Allen should be no where near the first team for Christ sake

  10. That's my problem too - though I don't have the brain either

  11. Our biggest problem is Benteke over the weekend. He has found goal scoring form. 8 goals in his last 6 EPL matches. Before that he only scored 2 the whole season.

    Tim Sherwood has also got Villa to play some decent attacking football too. Going to be a very good match.

  12. Just imagine if Rodgers would have given Ibe a chance this season instead of paying £20m on Markovic?

    Ibe would also not have been cup tied ;-)

  13. This is with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight but had he not gone on loan he might not have developed as he has.

    But still at least we are agreed that it is all BR's fault again ;-).

  14. you're a dog, you have the legs but no brain ;-)

  15. Perfect line up me thinks..

  16. S Gerrard is the only world class player we have at club. But he no longer has the energy, mobilty, pace or speed he had 5-7 years ago which was key components in his armory which hurt teams.

    S Gerrard should start Vs A Villa alongside Coutinho, J Clue/useless Allen should be nowhere near team. His Goal against Newcastle does not justify his poor displays, he seems to get in way of L Leiva and J Henderson.

    And so ridiculously average and light weight that it hurts

    The team to start vs A Villa this sunday should be :

    Can Skrtel Lovren
    Flannagan/ Manquillo Lucas Henderson Moreno

    Coutinho Gerrard


    Flannagan or Manquillo are better defensively than Moreno, so we can not have both full backs forging forward at every will. And Flannagan or Manquillo are better defenders than both G Johnson and L Markovic.

  17. I am sure Skrtel and Lovren can keep him quiet if they are both on their A Game.

  18. Logan never misses a chance to blame BR!

  19. I agree play Gerard he's made for these moments

  20. Wha? Lucas as a RWB? I'd honestly be more tempted to use him up front!

  21. I think Johnson is a necessity due to being slightly more defensive than our options and when you consider that Flano probably won't play this season (he's only in light training if I recall correctly) and Manquillo was massively exposed against strong, fast wingers at West Ham, so why would we put him up against Agbonlahor/Weimann? Johnson at RWB with a back 3 should be enough. If Johnson gets skinned, he'll generall have either Skrtel or Can there to back him up.
    On the topic of starting Gerrard, I probably wouldn't, it would seriously kill Allen's confidence to play a decent game, score a goal (a goal which the likes of Lallana and Sterling probably would have missed on current form) then be left out of a cup game. I'd be lining up:

    Or put 2 up front with one supporting, probably Cou supporting Raheem and Mario. Gerrard to be used in the 60-70 minute mark behind the 2, Lucas if we need to strengthen up, Manquillo if it is pace that is doing us on the right, Kolo if Can's marauding is exposing us.

  22. agree. play SG