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Steven Gerrard's Ego Problem Is Threatening to Ruin His Legacy

25/03/2015 17:37 GMT | Updated 25/05/2015 10:59 BST
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As tempting as it is to dive straight in with immediate reactions on an event as high-profile as Steven Gerrard's red card against Manchester United, sometimes it's best to leave it for a few days. Collect your thoughts. Look at the bigger picture.

Having done that, it's hard to avoid one slightly unflattering conclusion: Stevie G is a massive bottler.

Things might not always have been this way. He was part of one of the greatest footballing comebacks of the 21st century in Istanbul. Earlier in that campaign, he led a revival almost as brilliant against Olympiakos. But the Steven Gerrard of 2004/5 is a very different beast to the current version.

The 2004/5 Gerrard was at the top of his game, channelling all of his fight on to the pitch. Now, however, he's well on his way down from the pinnacle of greatness. Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has, to his credit, recognised his skipper's decline and reacted accordingly - no automatic starting place, no new contract. Thanks for all you've done Stevie, but it's in the past now.

The fight that used to fuel some of his greatest midfield performances has failed him - now it's just fuelling petulance. The season which held so much potential as a nine-month farewell tour for the greatest Liverpool man of his generation has descended into farce.

It isn't just that he's getting old and playing poorly - that wouldn't be so bad. No, the last 12 months have seen him choke up and fail every time he faces a big game. Let's take a trip back.

27 April, 2014. Anfield, welcoming Chelsea. The game which can as good as secure the title for Liverpool after the longest of waits.

Pressure. Gerrard slips. Liverpool slip. Goodbye title.

19 June, 2014. Sao Paulo. England have just hauled themselves back into their vital World Cup game against Uruguay when Gerrard's mind wanders.

Pressure. He flicks a long ball to Suarez. Unlike Gerrard, Suarez makes no mistake. England go home early.

22 March, 2015. Anfield, welcoming Manchester United. Billed as both teams' biggest game of the season. The top four decider. Gerrard comes on as a half-time sub.

Pressure. He stamps on Ander Herrera. Red card. Less than a minute after he came on, he's leaving the pitch again. Liverpool lose

The love's starting to wane.

For some Liverpool fans, Gerrard will no longer just be the man who dragged them back from the brink over and over again. Now, he's the egotist who ran out of the talent to back up his personality. It might shed a new light on his perennial under-performance for England, too. After all, when you're not even the most vaunted midfielder in your side, where's the attention?

Gerrard has been a very good player in his time, maybe even a Liverpool great. But he's not the icon that he had the potential to be and it seems that his mind is already somewhere in Los Angeles. If there were windows in the Liverpool dressing room, it wouldn't have been a surprise if he'd spent Sunday afternoon staring out of them and whistling a jaunty tune after his red card.

It's a shame that he seems so willing to tarnish his legacy, falling out with his manager and playing recklessly. The aftermath of the red card against United was particularly telling, as Gerrard apologised to the people who he counts on to adore him, while completely failing to apologise to the man whose leg he stamped on.

Out of context, it's just a small thing. In the context of his ego, it fits perfectly. "Adore me, worship me, respect me," he says. "But don't you dare question me. I'm Captain Everything, don'tcha know?"

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