Steven Gerrard will undergo groin surgery in a bid to have an injury-free season and will miss two league games and two England World Cup qualifiers in the process. How much will they miss him?
If you look at Liverpool’s fixtures you’ll see them playing away at Villa Park on Sunday 31st August and home to Manchester United on Saturday 13th September. There’s a home game against Stoke the next week and even if Gerrard misses it he should be back for the Goodison Park derby the week after.
Two key games but in terms of managing the injury it’s good for Liverpool to get into the Champions League, secure their immediate future and then get the op out of the way. You might see Stevie G pop in for the United game if he can manage it, especially since it’s at Anfield and United have been winning in recent years.
England will see either Hargreaves or Barry pair up with Lampard in the middle of the park and it’s a chance for the team to prove that they can win without relying on Gerrard for inspiration. From their first two qualification fixtures Andorra should be easily negotiated but the away game against Croatia will be key and a chance for Rooney and Cole and Lampard and Terry and Beckham/Bentley to prove that they can win as a team.
For far too long England have relied on individuals without bothering to build teams around them, and for far too long they’ve failed to build teams that complement each others’ talents. While that’s unlikely to change, England will not miss Gerrard as much in central midfield as Liverpool will miss him against Martin O’Neill’s men on Sunday.