Steven Gerrard was surprisingly been left out of the Liverpool starting line-up for today’s Premier League match at home to Stoke City.
Ironically it comes 16 years to the day that Gerrard made his Liverpool debut.
The 34-year-old captain has struggled for form of late and was named among the substitutes by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
It is the first time that Gerrard has not started a league match since the visit of Hull City on New Year’s Day when he was injured.
Gerrard had featured in the midweek Champions League fixture away to the Bulgarian champions Ludogorets, when he played the full 90 minutes, and Liverpool travel to Leicester City for another league match on Tuesday.
Resting Gerrard – although he is on the bench – makes sense for Rodgers given his age and the heavy fixture schedule but it is still a surprise given Liverpool’s struggles this season.
Gerrard’s own form has been questioned with Rodgers defending the midfielder and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet – who nevertheless retained his place against Stoke.
Philippe Coutinho was included by Rodgers at Gerrard’s expense with Lucas and Kolo Toure also starting and Rickie Lambert keeping his place up front.
The front of Liverpool's match-day programme celebrates "16 sensational years" for Gerrard. Leaving him out is a big decision given Liverpool have lost their last three Premier League matches.