If Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was able to stay fit and in form then there’s no doubt that he would have been capable of representing England at the next European Championships in 2016. Even at the age of 36, the midfielder would have been an invaluable member of the side and it would have given the player the chance to go out on a more positive note.
As it is, Gerrard retires from international football after a disappointing World Cup but there is every indication that England’s loss is going to be Liverpool’s gain.
So close for the Reds
Liverpool are among the outsiders at 14.50 with Betfair to win the Premier league this season and that price has definitely drifted since the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona. Brendan Rodgers’ side came so close to landing their first ever Premier League title in 2013-14 and while Suarez’s goals are cited as the main reason behind their second place finish, the Uruguayan had plenty of support from his team mates.
While their star centre forward was banging in 31 goals in 37 matches during the last campaign, it’s easy to forget that fellow striker Daniel Sturridge had a respectable record of his own – 24 in 33 – but the real driving force on the pitch came from the captain.
Gerrard’s form was consistent throughout and as he approached his mid 30’s, form and fitness was never better. Like the rest of the Liverpool squad, he enjoyed the benefit of not having to travel to Europe for midweek competition but he remained an important member of Roy Hodgson’s England set up.
Compare and contrast
Of Gerrard’s contemporaries, it’s easiest to make a comparison with Frank Lampard who played his final season for Chelsea in 2013-14. At 35, Lampard suddenly became a fringe player under Jose Mourinho after 13 years at the club and yet he is still available for England duty.
It’s impossible to say whether the rigours of playing for your country in qualifying tournaments had an effect on Lampard’s ability to command a first team place at Stamford Bridge but he would certainly have been much fresher without those international commitments.
Managing your finest asset
Liverpool fans would have been disappointed to have missed out on Champions League football at the end of 2013-14 but as that season began, the club’s main aim was to get back into the top four. They made that with ease but now that Champions League football returns to Anfield, the demands on Steven Gerrard will be far more intense.
Brendan Rodgers will know better than anybody how to manage his skipper and it would be no surprise if the player wanted to feature in every game. If Liverpool are to win their first top flight title since 1991, the manager will probably need to rotate his best asset but the fact that there are no England matches to interrupt his progress will surely help.
The retirement of Steven Gerrard from international football gives the national manager Roy Hodgson a huge headache and it’s a daunting task for whoever has to come in and take over. For Liverpool supporters however this has to be good news from a club perspective.
England’s 2016 European Championship qualifying campaign presents a tough challenge and it will take the team to Eastern Europe on three separate occasions to face Slovenia, Estonia and Lithuania. Instead of travelling with the team, Steven Gerrard will be able to rest and recuperate during an important season for his club side and as a result, Liverpool can only benefit from his decision.