Steven Gerrard has been involved in all sorts of matches in his time in Liverpool red. Good matches, bad matches, yawn-inducingly boring matches, and a handful of awe-inspiring matches that will provide tidbits for pub trivia nights for decades to come. In spite of these experiences, though, Gerrard believes there are few he's participated in that have come close to the complete demolition that Liverpool laid out against Arsenal on Saturday.
"I am trying to think back of a performance — especially in the first half — that I can remember in the last 15 years," Gerrard said. "Maybe one or two in the Champions League got close but that was as explosive as it gets. That is right up there: definitely in the top three performances I have been involved in.
"You are talking about a side that is top of the league with world-class players, ones who are worth £42million; Jack Wilshere, one of the country's big hopes who we are looking to perform at a World Cup; (Santi) Cazorla - a World Cup winner. We have absolutely demolished a top team there from start to finish."
Gerrard was directly involved in Liverpool's first two goals that set the team off and running. A brace from the least likely of candidates, Martin Skrtel, was the end result of some Gerrard's set piece prowess, and beyond this there were several candidates who turned in Man of the Match calibre performances that helped dismantle an unfortunate Arsenal side.
Still, in recent seasons Liverpool have made a bit of an annoying habit of absolutely bringing it in big games while turning in uninspired performances in matches they allegedly "should" be winning. High scoring wins against Fulham and Stoke City earlier in the season were followed immediately by draws against Everton and Aston Villa, and the captain is quick to recognize the peril Liverpool could find themselves in once more.
"I think the dangerous thing after a performance like that is can we motivate ourselves to get close to producing something similar against Fulham?" Gerrard mused about the mid-week match. "If we do, we will do the same to Fulham. We performed fantastically against Everton (4-0) and then slipped up against West Brom (1-1), having taken the lead. We should have seen that game out."
That they didn't is clearly a sore spot with the skipper, and while it's a mistake that can't be fixed, it's also a mistake that need not be repeated. (Again.) Fulham have tragically allowed 55 goals so far this season, which is a mouth-watering tally for a club as free-scoring as Liverpool, but Liverpool will need to muster the kind of incentive to play against the last placed club as they do against local rivals or title challengers.