16 Sept 2015

Anfield Saviour: Gerrard insists 'wonderful' £18m star must start for Liverpool 'ASAP' because he's 'vital'

After eight defeats in the last sixteen games, Liverpool fans are understandably pessimistic about Brendan Rodgers' ability to take the club to the next level, but according to Reds legend Steven Gerrard, things can only get better, and there's no to 'panic'.

Speaking to Radio City on Tuesday, Gerrard admitted that he's 'dejected' by the 'performance and result' against Manchester United, but insisted that things will get better when one of the club's key players return to the fold. He explained:

"It’s vital Daniel Sturridge is back playing and firing as soon as possible.

"I think the key is the partnership he forms with Benteke because if they click together there’s plenty more big games to finish high up in the league".

In theory, Gerrard's view makes sense, but it's underpinned by two major assumptions:

* Sturridge will stay fit long enough to score goals consistently for Liverpool this season.

* Benteke and Sturridge are capable of forming an effective striker partnership.

'Wonderful' Sturridge is notoriously unreliable, and based on his injury history, it's unrealistic to expect him to swoop in and save Liverpool's season. Last year, for, example:

* Sturridge played just THREE games before getting injured, and he missed the next FIVE months of the season.

* Upon his return, he started just nine games before getting injured again, and missing the rest of the season.

As for Sturridge's partnership with Benteke - it all depends on how the two strikers are deployed, but the more important issue is this:

Will Rodgers even play them together?

Many fans seem to think that a Benteke/Sturridge partnership is a foregone conclusion, but last season, Sturridge rarely played alongside another striker, and Rodgers has shown no appetite to play two up-front this season.

As such, when Sturridge is fit, it won't surprise me in the slightest to see Rodgers persist with one up-front, and use him or Benteke out wide, which, in both cases, is a mistake.

Author: Jaimie K


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