Steven Gerrard’s immense loyalty to Liverpool is set to be celebrated with a sold out testimonial match against Olympiakos, but with the Anfield club looking increasingly likely to cash in on Luis Suarez they can be accused of failing to show the same commitment to their skipper’s footballing aspirations – and not for the first time.
Gerrard has recently spoken up in praise of Suarez – who he described as “the best footballer I’ve ever played with” – in an effort to persuade the Uruguayan that another year on Merseyside is worth his while, but with Champions League-bound Arsenal equal favourites at 9/10 to be Suarez’s club at the end of the transfer window it seems he may be fighting a losing battle.
It wouldn’t be the first time Liverpool have let one of the few players they have who can rightfully claim to be playing on a similar level to their evergreen leader leave the club and each time they do so Gerrard sees the chances of his beloved club becoming genuine Premier League title threats eroded further.
Down the years the 33-year-old has had to watch on impotently as the classiest men he’s led past the famous ‘This is Anfield’ sign have been permitted to leave the club.
Strikers of the quality of Fernando Torres, Michael Owen and Nicolas Anelka were all allowed to move on when in their pomp, leaving Gerrard behind to shoulder the burden of Red hopes and dreams alone once more.
Meanwhile the club failed to fight tooth and nail to hold on to midfielders that may have been on their skipper’s wave length in Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, both of whom have gone on to have decorated careers at Europe’s biggest clubs since.
The sale of influential playmaker Alonso remains the most damaging of the lot.
Liverpool finished second in the Premier League in 2009/10 – the Basque’s last campaign at the club – but had plummeted to seventh by the end of the following campaign.
The Reds are equal fifth favourites to secure a top four place with Tottenham this term at 17/10, but the very real potential of losing the man responsible for 23 of their 71 league goals in 2012/13 makes that price look skimpy in the extreme.