Steven Gerrard's decision to leave Liverpool has been a gut-wrenching pill for most fans to swallow, reducing some to tears. Nonetheless, despite being Liverpool's top goalscorer this season, if ever there was a time to part ways with Gerrard, now would be the perfect time.
Aside from his headed goal against Wimbledon, the entirety of Gerrard's goals this season and indeed many of last season have been from set-pieces. Long gone are the days of an energetic Gerrard rampaging past players in the middle of the pitch to smash the ball into the net. Gerrard's role in the Liverpool squad has shrunk to little more than an NFL kicker - telling that he has transferred to America.
When Gerrard does not score, the impact he has in matches is void. In fact, his impact is negligible. When played in central midfield, his sluggish strides in hold up Liverpool's attacking play by leaving them a man down. When defending, his lack of energy and positional sense leaves him in no-mans land and puts more trouble on an already shaky defense. Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest Liverpool play a lot more fluently in attack and defend (marginally) better when he is not in the team as a central midfielder.
A top class central midfielder Gerrard is not, but he has shown he is still a top quality attacking midfielder. However, on that thought, Liverpool have several players in this position and taking away Gerrard's set piece contribution, it is arguable whether he would be any better than Coutinho or Lallana in a further advanced position - he is certainly less skilled, quick and nimble.
Even if he was, Gerrard's age means he would be forced to miss matches anyway - something he has admitted was a prime reason for him leaving the club he loves.
Finally, Gerrard's presence has been a proverbial and unlucky albatross for Liverpool over the years. Ever since making a name for himself, Gerrard's name has been synonymous with Liverpool's to the point people cannot distinguish the two. Titled like "Mr Liverpool" have been brandished to the legend, almost as if to assume Liverpool were a one-man team.
Throughout Gerrard's time at Liverpool, successive management and boards have failed to arm the captain with complete sides. Nevertheless, Gerrard has never been the key component of the three best sides Gerrard has played in.
Under Gerard Houllier, Liverpool's efforts were team oriented but the likes of Sami Hyypia, Gary McAllister, Emile Heskey and Michael Owen were often the difference makers.
Under Rafa Benitez, Gerrard's peak years, the captain and Fernando Torres were given the plaudits. However, the rise and fall of Liverpool's fortunes coincided with a certain Xabi Alonso who has gone on to win several trophies with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, whilst he left Gerrard and Torres exposed without his mercurial passing and positioning.
Finally, last season under Brendan Rodgers, the star men were Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. Even then, a large reason why Gerrard even shone was because the movement of the front three (Sterling included) made Gerrard's job of creating easier. Now that Suarez has left and Sturridge has been perpetually injured this season, Gerrard's performances has gone back to the post Xabi Alonso days. Coincidence? I think not.
This is not to besmirch Gerrard's name, the man is a Liverpool legend and one of the best ever in the club's history. However, his time is simply up.