It was always a question with the Liverpool legend. The accumulation of injuries and wear on his body eating away at the physical strength and capacity for tireless running that had made him such a powerful offensive weapon.

But, beginning with Houllier, coaches slowly gave up on trying to teach or enforce any kind tactical discipline on the local icon. This trend culminated in Rafa Benitez’ decision to remove all defensive and positional responsibilities and give him a free hand to roam where he pleased.

With the decline of his physical gifts, such a role came with greater cost to the team’s defensive shape and with less offensive output to offset it.

Somehow, Liverpool’s relatively new coach, Brendan Rodgers, has managed to turn Steven Gerrard into the kind player he needed to become.

Sitting deep and using his eye for long, diagonal passes. Timing tackles and breaking up opposing attacks instead of desperately chasing players and depending on his pace and power. And timing his offensive surges to conserve his energy.

Rodgers has very nearly managed to transform Gerrard into a regista, the outfield role that, arguably, requires the greatest degree of tactical discipline.

It’s unkind to say this, but if this iteration of Steven Gerrard had been around earlier in the century, England’s national team might have had at least a shot at World Cup or European title.

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