Verging on bus pass eligibility, Steven Gerrard’s 15-year tenure as the first name on the Liverpool team sheet is accelerating towards its end.
The 34-year-old has come in for increased criticism for his poor performances during the Reds’ turbulent start to the campaign, with even the most devout of followers beginning to contemplate life after their skipper.
Defeat at West Ham in their last Premier League outing has rendered three Merseyside derby points against Everton next a prerequisite, with Brendan Rodgers’ men ranked at 9/10 to snare the local spoils.
Ousting their talisman for a game of such magnitude simply won’t happen, though like it or not Liverpool fans, there will come a time when Stevie-G can’t be called upon.
But could his departure prompt another Anfield tactical revolution after the introduction of last season’s ‘diamond’ system?
Improving in defence is proving difficult with a four-man rearguard, but switching to 3-5-2, incorporating three centre-halves as opposed to two, may help eradicate their concerns.
Bought as a left-back, Alberto Moreno’s marauding qualities make him the ideal wing-back, while Glen Johnson is frequently chastised for the very defensive deficiencies that wouldn’t be so costly if moved a little further up the field.
Raheem Sterling could then move into a number ten role on a permanent basis behind Mario Balotelli and Daniel Sturridge.
Opponents have twigged how to negate Gerrard’s play-making prowess at the base of the diamond, while his positional sense isn’t that of a natural anchorman.
Emre Can and Lucas Leiva are better acquainted with the customs of a modern-day defensive midfielder, but starting them both would detract from the Reds’ ability to attack swiftly.
Deploying Jordan Henderson alongside Can would ensure technical proficiency remained high, the ball was moved forwards quickly and work ethic wasn’t compromised, while simultaneously offering the back three better protection.