Five players who could take over from Steven Gerrard at Liverpool
Published 14/05/2015 | 15:18
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers faces a challenge none of his predecessors have had to even consider - replacing Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard's departure at the end of the season will leave a hole at Anfield in terms of midfield dynamism and leadership. It will be an opportunity for players such as Jordan Henderson or Joe Allen to step up but there could be other options.
Here, we consider players elsewhere that could fill the Gerrard void.
1) ROSS BARKLEY
It is unthinkable that Barkley could quit Everton and move across Stanley Park to the Toffees' arch-rivals, and the Blues would certainly never consider selling him to them. Such a scenario probably belongs in the realms of fantasy but, nevertheless, Barkley would actually be a fine replacement for Gerrard. Since breaking into the Everton team and earning England recognition, the 21-year-old has shown he has the potential to reach the top. He is possibly the best English box-to-box midfielder to emerge since Gerrard.
2) PAUL POGBA
Also possibly unrealistic given that the Frenchman is rated in the £50million bracket and Liverpool - despite receiving such fees for players - have never seriously threatened to pay at that level. Since leaving Manchester United for Juventus, the 21-year-old has established himself as one of the best young midfielders in Europe. He is often linked with a return to England, but usually with the likes of United or Chelsea.
3) MORGAN SCHNEIDERLIN
It is certainly not inconceivable Liverpool could attempt to raid Southampton again, however. After taking Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert last summer, the Reds could look at the highly-rated 25-year-old Schneiderlin. The Frenchman looks to have settled after threatening to leave in the summer but an offer from Liverpool could be tempting.
4) HENRIKH MKHITARYAN
Liverpool made serious attempts to sign the Armenian in the summer of 2013 but ultimately lost out to Borussia Dortmund. Since then the 25-year-old's star has fallen slightly with Dortmund struggling in the Bundesliga. If he were to become available again, Rodgers could revive his interest.
5) MIRALEM PJANIC
The Bosnia international only signed a new contract with Roma 12 months ago but has been linked with a move away since the start of this season. Liverpool are among a number of clubs reportedly interested in the 25-year-old, who would command a fee upwards of £25million. Pjanic is not a prolific goalscorer from midfield - he has scored five, with nine assists in the current league campaign - but would add a much-needed touch of quality and experience.