Steven Gerrard’s Return to Form Could Ultimately Be Liverpool’s Biggest Offseason Upgrade

Steven Gerrard's Return to Form Could Ultimately Be Liverpool's Biggest Offseason Upgrade There's no surprise that Liverpool's fall from the English Premier League's elite happened to coincide with the poor play of their fearless leader, Steven Gerrard.

The Reds captain recently told The Guardian that he's hoping to come back strong from groin surgery that has kept him out since March, the longest stretch away from the game since he was a teenager.

"I want to come back with a bang, I want to have a big season. It's been non-stop football for me since I started when I was 17. I've never had a period of more than four or five weeks out of the game, so it's been nice to rest mentally," Gerrard told the Guardian. "My injury's coming on well and I can't wait for the season to start. There's still a lot of time for me to achieve bigger and better things. I'd like to finish my career with a few more trophies."

If the Reds have any hope of bringing home trophies, it lies with Gerrard.

After an abysmal start to last year's campaign, Liverpool turned things around as the calendar turned, coming on strong in the second half of the season to finish in the top-half of the table — far away from the top-four perch that Reds fans are accustomed too, but an achievement based on the threat of relegation at the beginning of the year.

The additions of 'Pool legend Kenny Dalglish as manager and attackers Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, along with the subtraction of prima donna Fernando Torres, helped Liverpool regain credibility.

Now it's up to Gerrard to back up his words and be the center-midfield maestro this team needs.

Looking back to their last good season, in 2008-09, the Reds finished just behind Manchester United in the EPL, and managed to make it to the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Gerrard led the team in goals in both competitions, finishing all competitions with 29 goals and 13 assists.

The year before, in 2007-08, Gerrard finished with 11 goals and 11 assists in the EPL as the Reds finished in the top-four and were one of the final four in the Champions League, where Gerrard also connected or set up 10 more goals.

The last two seasons, which have seen the Reds removed from the upper-echelon, also saw Gerrard finish with sub-par numbers not seen since 2006-07 when he finished with just eight goals and seven assists in 35 EPL matches.   

With the addition of England under-21 star Jordan Henderson into the midfield, Gerrard has a new companion to play with. But no matter the potential of the young Englishman, Gerrard is the engine that drives the midfield.

After extremely successful seasons by Dirk Kuyt, Lucas and Raul Meireles, it's unlikely all three with duplicate last year's success, making it an even more pressing matter that Gerrard picks up some of the slack, say, if Kuyt puts in just half of his 13 EPL goals.

There are other pressing issues for the Reds this offseason. Other than Suarez, Carroll and occasionally Kuyt up top, the attacking group is a bit thin. Same with the wing positions, especially as Maxi Rodriguez and his 10 EPL goals continue to look elsewhere. It appears Stade Brest striker Nolan Roux is on Dalglish's radar and Saint-Etienne's winger Dimitri Payet's name has been floated around as well. Both French League players would be quality subs and an occasional place-starter.

But the Reds biggest improvement can come from in house. If Gerrard can turn back the clock and control the midfield better than anyone else in England, then the Reds should see their fair share of gold.

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