With Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, and Raheem Sterling providing much of the impetus in attack and Lucas, Jordan Henderson, and Joe Allen putting in excellent performances in central midfield, Steven Gerrard has become something of an afterthought. Considering his standing at the club that's been a strange reality to accept, as even though he'll be on his way at season's end he is still widely viewed as among the most influential players in the squad.
That perception doesn't always match up with the real world; in his most recent appearance he had an undeniably positive impact, providing stability and calmness in a match that desperately needed it, but his influence has waxed and waned as Brendan Rodgers sought to find a way to fit one of Liverpool's greatest-ever servants into the side. Forced absence meant that Gerrard didn't fit, and most took that as an indication that, while his exit from the only club with whom he's featured in his senior career is still two months away, he might as well have already left.
Which, according to Rodgers, has been unfair to a man who's been among the Premier League's greatest midfielders:
"I've got to say I think it's been really unfair on the boy. This is a guy who has been a wonderful player. He's still a wonderful player. When he was injured, people were trying to sensationalise stories about whether he'd get in the team or not. Steven was unfit. He was injured. People were trying to write him off when he wasn't fit.
"He's back fit, and he's available now. I can tell you now -- this may not be the story you want -- he's a guy who is totally committed to the team. He's a fan of this club. He would like to play. But his support to Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen has been fantastic and his support to me has been incredible. There are lots of stories going about. People are trying to predict the team. The poor guy wasn't even fit. He was on the treatment table trying to get back for the benefit of the team. Anyone who knows him knows he's a selfless guy who wants to help the team. He's going to have a big part to play in our final games. He's a wonderful player and a great captain."
Little to argue with now that Rodgers appears to be more willing to manage his captain's minutes, and there's no doubt that his influence will be felt before season's end. He has been a part of more top four finishes than any other player in the current squad, and his name is synonymous with some of the great moments in FA Cup history. There is no replacing Steven Gerrard, and while they have him around, hopefully Liverpool are able to make the most of it.