Coming to terms with Liverpool’s weak efforts to retain their captain Gerrard

Trademark skill: His powerful, spot-on free kicks will be sorely missed.

Liverpool’s campaign has gone terribly wrong since the season’s kick-off and things just got worse.

Towards the end of 2014, I had prepared myself to pen down a farewell piece for Liverpool FC’s captain, Steven Gerrard, who I strongly believed would hang up his boots within the next year or so as a born and bred Liverpudlian.

Never did I imagine it would be about him moving to another club.

As with most fans of my generation, he was the rock of Liverpool, the apple of our eye and the knight in shining armour who saved the team an uncountable number of times while holding them together with his sterling leadership skills.

In the past 10 days, Gerrard’s statistics have been splashed in every news report, online portal and the numerous tributes from footballers of different generations, so I shall refrain from raving about it here.

After the initial devastation the announcement brought upon the fans, of course, came the questions in frustration and anger towards the club that is already in a downward spiral.

For all that he is and all that he did for Liverpool, it didn’t seem like they did enough to keep him.

He turned down record-deals from the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid, continuously reassuring fans of his loyalty and determination to take Liverpool to greater heights.

He stuck around with the club for the five years sans Champions League.

Just six months ago, he retired from international duty to focus on his childhood club and was doing relatively well at most appearances.

As captain of the club for past 12 years, he was always expected to be a leading example and the last straw when Liverpool was at its worst. A couple of slips aside, that’s exactly what he delivered.

Yet, he was recently informed that he may not be on the first XI as often as he used to, and was left out at massive games such as the Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

In an interview after the announcement, he admitted that he would have stayed had he been offered a new contract last summer.

So, why wasn’t he offered one?

I agree that no player is bigger than a club but this is a rare breed we have here. In his later years, he still offers the team the support they clearly need and the skills they clearly lack.

What is the club going to be without him? Well, we’ve seen the damage post-Suarez and this time the damage is barely comparable.

We are talking about the captain here. The backbone of the team. A passionate player whose ultimate dream was to lift more and more trophies with Liverpool, including the BPL trophy which is the only one he has yet to touch.

This void will never be filled anytime soon (a decade later, maybe) and I dare say not even by the vice-captain Jordan Henderson. He’s got a long way to go.

There has been much talk about Gerrard returning to Liverpool on loan in winter, or even taking up a management role with the club upon retirement but all that is just talk for now.

The truth is, we have lost a passionate player who still had the last ounces of boost the club desperately needs in these trying times.

Gerrard aside, the transfer window hasn’t been looking all that great either.

Again, there are decisions which fans find hard to fathom such as why Liverpool passed up Victor Valdes given the critical goalkeeper issues the club is dealing with.

Rumoured target Xherdan Shaqiri has also slipped from Anfield’s grasp while youngster Suso is set to leave the club.

There is still a meek glimmer of hope with the talks of Man City’s James Milner joining the Anfield lads, a fresh contract for Raheem Sterling and of course, we must not forget Daniel Sturridge’s much awaited return.

But with the loss of our legendary captain, unless the club signs someone like Lionel Messi (good luck, Mourinho), the fans are going to be mourning for quite a while.

Amidst this rollercoaster of emotions, Liverpool will be meeting Sunderland tonight.

The previous clash just a month ago (another one which saw Gerrard benched) ended in a goalless draw.

With Sterling back from a short holiday in Jamaica and Gerrard on a goal-scoring run after letting the secret out of the bag, the team should be rejuvenated to bring home three points.

This game is the first of five jam-packed matches in 21 days, including a Capital One Cup semi-finals against Chelsea and the FA Cup fourth-round match against Bolton Wanderers.

One can only hope the lads give it their all for the rest of the season for a memorable farewell their captain truly deserves.

¦ The writer’s long-planned 2015 trip to Anfield will be significantly less meaningful without the sight of her favourite player in a Liverpool jersey.

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