Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Steven Gerrard On Affray Trial - Misses Liverpool's "The Kop Comes to Asia" Tour

On July 2oth, 2009, Steven Gerrard stood trial on a charge of affray, allegedly committed in Southport in December last year. He is denying the charge, CCTV evidence however, shows incriminating scenes of Gerrard laying multiple punches on the victim, Mr. Marcus McGee.

According to online reports, Gerrard looked disturbed and visibly upset for being treated like a normal being rather than a celebrity footballer. Due to that, he chose to confront McGee and subsequently cause grievous bodily harm. Before the incident, Gerrard had been drinking with his friends celebrating the superb 5-1 win over Newcastle.

Now there is a consistent relationship between alcohol consumption and violent behaviour. Overconsumption leads to impaired judgement and impulse control which in turn can turn a person violent. This was what happened to Gerrard. I hope he has laid off the sauce since the incident.

The trial is expected to last between two to three weeks.

Joey Barton was sentenced to six months of prison after being found guilty of assault and affray. That is the reality of the punishment facing Gerrard if he is found guilty.

Gerrard standing trial for "losing it" last year - Image from AFP

And now Liverpool's dreams of winning the title next season is in danger of vanishing.
So what about the impact on Liverpool FC if Gerrard was found guilty?

Sriram Ilango, a sports freak who writes on Bleacher Report published this excellent article about the Liverpool captain. The below talks about the talismanic effects of Steven Gerrard on Liverpool FC.

Steven Gerrard has been instrumental in many of Liverpool's success. From Liverpool’s midfield cult hero to one of the world’s best second-strikers, Steven Gerrard’s transformation has been truly magnificent.

He has scored goals, made goals, and importantly raised him team's level of football in more than season.

Zinedine Zidane quoted: “Forget Ronaldo and Messi, the best player in the world is Liverpool star Gerrard.”

Okay, a Daily Mail headline said that. Zidane merely said: “Is he the best in the world? He might not get the attention of (Lionel) Messi and Ronaldo but yes, I think he just might be.”

Still, that’s some endorsement.

Somewhere amidst all the adulation for Gerrard—he has been compared since to two bona fide English legends, Bobby Charlton and Duncan Edwards—lurks a sense that a man vital to Gerrard’s flowering as a footballer has been ignored.

His name is Rafael Benitez. He is Liverpool’s manager, and his most important contribution was to move Gerrard out of central midfield.

This was a move criticised widely by a lot of English football pundits, who saw in his athleticism, dynamism and thunderous right foot flashes of Liverpool’s Graeme Souness and Manchester United’s Bryan Robson, archetypes of the all-action, box-to-box central midfielder, a creature so revered in English football that it inspired the comic book hero ‘Roy of the Rovers’.

Here’s Robson himself expressing dismay at Benitez playing Gerrard on the right wing in a match against Manchester United in 2006, which Liverpool lost 2-0: “In central midfield, Gerrard is able to get stuck in, express himself and do what he does best—making those surging runs and chipping in with goals. But he can’t do that when he’s wide on the right.”

This despite Gerrard having scored 23 goals in all competitions from the right wing the previous season.

To understand why Rafael Benitez moved Gerrard out of midfield, we must go back to May 25, 2005 in Istanbul, where, at half-time in the Champions League final, AC Milan led Liverpool 3-0.

In the first half, Milan playmaker Kaka had revelled in the space and time Liverpool’s midfield gave him and conjured the Rossoneri’s second and third goals. He chipped a diagonal pass to Andriy Shevchenko for the Ukranian to cross for Hernan Crespo’s first goal, and then set up Crespo’s second with a 40-yard through ball.

Benitez realised that coming back, or even limiting the damage, would require a major tactical reshuffle.

When Liverpool trotted out for the second half, holding midfielder Dietmar Hamann, instructed to suffocate Kaka, took the place of injured right-back Steve Finnan. Gerrard, who had partnered Xabi Alonso in midfield in the first half, now took position just behind striker Milan Baros.

You know what happened next. In six unreal second-half minutes, Liverpool scored thrice. Gerrard headed in the first goal, and, after Vladimir Smicer rifled in the second, earned the penalty that Alonso converted to equalise.

After extra-time ended goalless, Liverpool won on penalties to claim its fifth European Cup, lifted joyously by Gerrard as red confetti rained on his team.

This wasn’t the first time Benitez had tried this tactic that season. He had entrusted the centre of midfield to two from Alonso, Hamann and Igor Biscan in Champions League away legs, playing Gerrard further forward.

The former Valencia manager, in his very first season in English football, had realised that central midfield wasn’t Gerrard’s best position. <there's more>

Bleacher Report is the world's largest sports network that is powered entirely by fan-generated content.

Press report on Steven Gerrard affray trial can be found in

1 comment:

TheFlatBackFour said...

Wow, great news! Steven Gerrard has been acquitted.
Some reports talked about a long 2-3 week trial but within one week, the jury has cleared Gerrard of all charges!
Now he and Liverpool can concentrate on pre-season training - they have not looked impressive so far.

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