Hodgson's Made Some Mistakes But Gerrard's Position Isn't One
If a side is losing, obviously something needs to be changed. What it generally means, is that in a team of 11, 2 or 3 aren’t pulling their weight. Whether that’s because they’re not good enough (hint, Poulsen is in this category), or because they’re in the wrong role is the decision that has to be made.
Liverpool’s problems don’t generally stem from quality of personnel, the core of the side is the same as that which humiliated Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford, (yes, I’m bringing that up, but it’s all I’ve got at the moment), what is a greater issue is that the playing staff aren’t being used to the best of their ability in a number of positions. Gerrard isn’t one of those, however much it may seem like he is. Fans always point out that the fortunes of the team coincide with the fortunes of two players, and obviously want them to be in roles where they have the most impact, which for Gerrard seems to be behind the striker.
It’s been apparent to all that Torres has been starved of service this season, and it’s actually a credit to him that the few occasions a match he’s handed a defense splitting ball he’s produced something out of it, against United he got both goal scoring opportunities, and provided both assists against Sunderland. But without someone working into channels beside him he’s had both center backs firmly stuck to him, resulting in him targeting the flanks more often, naturally taking him away from goal. Torres didn’t terrorize Vidic because he made runs off the back of O’Shea instead. Reasonably an offensive threat like Gerrard close behind him would cause defenders more problems and open up more space.
But there’s a better place for Gerrard, his role behind Torres can be filled by Cole, and space for Torres to run into can be provided by N’Gog playing beside him, but in the center of the pitch, no matter who plays behind the striker, never mind the actual front men, are never going to get passes in the right position unless Gerrard is in the middle making them. With such a thin squad this is one of the few things Hodgson has gotten right so far, of the other options Lucas prefers making short passes to retain possession, and Poulsen is nothing but a destroyer, (not even a very good one). Without Gerrard Liverpool can create nothing going forward and are on the verge of falling into kick and rush football.
The opening 6 games haven’t produced many positives for Liverpool, but it’s plain as day that Gerrard has been their best player, their only source of creativity, and their only link between their box and the opponents. It’s suicide to marginalize him at this stage by placing him in the hole, he needs to be in the center where he can influence games.