Those following online betting know that Liverpool has been dealt a serious blow as it has been revealed that captain Steven Gerrard will be out for the next month after another groin surgery, and the Reds never looked like posing a threat at Braga, where they fell 1-0 last week in Europa League action. Handling the absence of their inspirational midfield will be the key to any success Liverpool has down the stretch.
To be fair, Gerrard hasn’t been at his best all season, managing seven goals and five assists in 21 matches, but whenever is in the lineup, you get a sense that Liverpool could pull out a minute of magic when it’s needed. The Reds had been playing well before Gerrard was hurt, tearing apart Manchester United 3-1, and the movement and passing under manager Kenny Daglish has been much improved. But they looked awful at Braga, and never looked like creating anything until new signing Andy Carroll came on for the last third. Carroll is a big, traditional striker who would create knockdowns for Gerrard, but now the pressure is on other players to step up. Raul Meireles has been Liverpool’s best player over the second half of the season and he’ll look to step into that role that Gerrard fills, and the Reds will also look to production from the versatile Dirk Kuyt, arguably Liverpool’s most dependable player.
Liverpool should be able to manage with Gerrard, and it could open some opportunities for players, notably Joe Cole. The midfielder has shown glimpses of his former self since moving to Anfield, but with a run in the side he could show why many thought he would be a star after a stirring performance for England at the 2006 World Cup. But if Liverpool are going to go on without Gerrard, either Meireles or Cole (likely both) will have to pick up the slack.