Gerrard Keen to Perfect New Midfield Responsibilities

A man possessed indeed. - Laurence Griffiths

The evolution of Steven Gerrard continues, and Liverpool's captain is coming into a new understanding of the tasks assigned to him by his manager.

If you need temporary reprieve from the madness surrounding Yevhen Konoplyanka, there's always a return to previous subjects guaranteed to set your teeth on edge. We speak, of course, of the Great Steven Gerrard Debate of 2014. There is comfort in the familiar, and the club's chronic challenge in finding an adequate deputy for Lucas Leiva will no doubt wrap you in a cocoon of reassurance in that regard.

Steven Gerrard, bless his heart, is certainly trying to fill that void. Assigned the defensive midfield role for multiple matches in succession, the captain's suitablity for such a job had been called into question numerous times given his lack of positional awareness and inclination to be more offensive than defensive. But on the back of a man-of-the-match quality performance against Everton on Tuesday, Gerrard looked to have found the sweet spot Brendan Rodgers had been trying to coax out of him.

"It's a different position to the one that I've played for the last 12 or 15 years," Gerrard said on his new role. "Previously, I've been trying to get from box to box. But the new role is more about control and organising the people in front of me.

"I know that with time and work on the training pitch, I can get it right because I believe I can play in a number of positions."

Gerrard didn't say whether one of those positions might eventually be centre back, but at least there's an awareness about the need to be a midfield maestro in his new role. That this is a slightly different version of Brendan Rodgers' expectations for the position — one that the gaffer frequently describes purely in offensive-minded terms — is probably a good thing, as it resulted in the first instance of Gerrard truly owning the position in a way he hadn't previously.

Gerrard's will need to repeat his Everton performance on Sunday if asked to play the same role by his manager, and at least a few more times after that in order to demonstrate his positional growth. The fervour of the derby always puts a fire in Gerrard to play like a man possessed, and it will be key for him to replicate his efforts in matches where there is no local pride at stake.

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