If you believe the talk coming out of Liverpool, the Reds won’t sell midfielder Steven Gerrard, not even for £50 million. The Guardian’s Georgina Turner and Paul Doyle, however, wonder what the England international has ever done to justify such a claim.
Red tops aren’t just what Liverpool wear, they’re also what the club’s bosses read, apparently. If you want proof that they voraciously devour and regurgitate hype, just listen to what Anfield supremo Rick Parry said about Steven Gerrard today in the face of ongoing speculation linking the sometimes-spectacular midfielder to Chelsea or Real Madrid: “I sincerely hope he’ll be here next season. He’s above money. It doesn’t matter if it’s £30m, £40m or £50m, we will not accept offers.”
Wouldn’t accept £50m?!? That sort of lolly would buy four – possibly more – gifted and eminently consistent performers who could help lift Liverpool back above the bar that Gerard Houllier so sneakily lowered. But Parry is adamant: “We have reaffirmed to Steven that we’re trying to build a team around him,” he gushed, as he hurried back to Anfield in time to wash Stevie’s car or, heck, just buy him a new one.
Building a team around Gerrard is like erecting a security system around a narcoleptic night watchman. There have been moments of exceptional vigilance, no doubt, but when the going gets tough, Stevie is too frequently seen yawning pathetically before bounding off to his rural hideout in the Land of Nod. He has snoozed his way through countless Liverpool let-downs, including recent defeats to Southampton and Man United, and his only contribution to Euro 2004 was one humdrum goal and several loud and slightly jarring snores.
Sensationalists first started frothing over Gerrard a few seasons back when they hailed him for his ability to pick out Michael Owen. But the fact is that Owen’s speed, followed by hacks’ hysteria, made Gerrard look better than he was – or at least concealed the fact that his short passing, tackling and overall tactical intelligence were not as sharp as they could be. That he has failed to develop these aspects of his game in the last two seasons suggests just one thing: that he, along with far too many people, is too happy to believe the hype. Take the £50m, Rick. If you can really get it.