Pitchside Europe

Why Liverpool may struggle to cope without key man Gerrard

Steven Gerrard pulled up in the second half of the victory over West Ham with a hamstring injury and is set to miss the next six weeks of the season. It's a big blow to Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers who face trips to White Hart Lane, Stamford Bridge and the Etihad without their legendary captain. Rodgers will be confident that the team will cope without their leader but how much will they miss him?

Gerrard has been influential for the Reds this season. He has scored three goals, which is the third-highest at the club behind Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge - another key player injured.

Top Key Passers In The Premier League (Not Including Assists)
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The Englishman has completed 33 key passes this season - more than anyone else in the Premier League - and assisted six goals. He is by far and away Liverpool's most creative player so far. He is also one of the most creative players in Europe this season. His threat from a dead ball situation has improved massively this season and the Reds now look a constant threat from set-pieces.

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With Sturridge and Gerrard out for the next few weeks, Liverpool's goal threat is reduced greatly. Sturridge's goalscoring ability matched with Gerrard's chance creation is a potent mix and, without it, Rodgers must find a way to supply Suarez with enough chances to trouble Spurs, City and Chelsea.

Gerrard's new role in a deep midfield position has seen him having to be more disciplined and his passing has improved because of it. Only Joe Allen and Lucas have a higher pass accuracy in Liverpool's midfield.

Gerrard's passing accuracy compared to his midfield teammates

His drive and forward-thinking mentality is proven by his passing statistics. He doesn't offer much defensively, but playing the ball forward is his forte. He offers penetration from deep in the midfield, playing passes to the feet of the attackers or in behind the opposition defence. Gerrard has passed the ball forwards 66.8% of the time this season.

Gerrard's passing has been very attacking

It is clear to see what Gerrard offers, especially from wide areas. Against West Ham on Saturday, he created four chances, two of which were from crosses from the right-hand side.

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With trips to Spurs, City and Chelsea, Liverpool will need to be tight and take their chances when they get them. It's this reason why the Reds will miss Gerrard's threat from wide areas and set-pieces. His presence in the team will have an effect on the side, too. He may not be as big a figure in the Liverpool team as he once was but his ability to pick the ball up from a deep position and start an attack with a pinpoint pass in second-to-none and something that Suarez will miss.

The next few weeks were going to be tough for Liverpool, but they'll be even harder without Gerrard creating their chances.