Time to drop Steven Gerrard?

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The Supplement panel discuss Liverpool’s poor start and whether Steven Gerrard should be moved in a different playing position.
The Liverpool captain has been criticised for his role in two Premier League defeats to West Ham and Aston Villa. The Reds’ 3-1 loss at Upton Park on Saturday was their third loss in five league games. It is only the second time Liverpool have experienced that as a top-flight club in 77 years.
Gerrard, who retired from international football after a disappointing World Cup this summer, made his first-team debut in 1998 as an attacking midfielder and has, over his 16-year Premier League career, adjusted his playing style to a more holding role to accommodate his pace in his autumn years.
Sunday Supplement host Neil Ashton asked his panel of journalists their view: Are we seeing the decline of Steven Gerrard as a top class Premier League player?
Matt Law – The Telegraph: “I’d probably drop him. I just don’t see the point in this theory in finding a place for him in this back three –if he’s playing badly I’d probably drop him and give him a rest and then bring him back in.
“It does make sense to target him because you can’t deny the fact he’s getting older. 
“In that role where he’s playing if you manage to nick the ball off him he can’t recover going the other way so then you’ve got a free run at the defence.  
“He had a pretty poor World Cup as all England players did and I think it took so much out of him that he obviously felt he had to retire from international football. I wonder whether that’s actually had an effect on the start of his season as well.”
Alyson Rudd – The Times:  “Well he can’t carry on in that role now because [Gabriel] Agbonlahor exposed it when Villa beat Liverpool and then low and behold Sam Allardyce says to [Stewart] Downing – ‘I want you to do the same sort of thing – put him under pressure, stop him making any passes, just make him feel uncomfortable.’ Downing did that brilliantly.
“It’s not a criticism of Steven Gerrard to say he’s getting older and he’s getting slower. There comes a point in every player’s career where that dip becomes quite visible and this might be the season where he is visibly losing his pace.
“There were discussions amongst the media that maybe Steven Gerrard could play as part of the back three in an even more withdrawn role. I personally don’t think you can do that if you haven’t played in defence all your life, you can’t suddenly switch on to all that movement you need to understand.
“I’d give him a last hurrah and play him further upfield – you’re not going to lose your eye for a pass as you get older.
“If teams are going to say, ‘let’s identify Steven Gerrard as a weak link and put him under pressure’ and they continue to score the sort of goals they did at Upton Park, then that is the end of his role I would suggest.”

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