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Steven Gerrard has at least another two years at the top level with Liverpool - Hamann

The star has come under fire recently following the Reds’ disappointing start to the season.

Didi Hamann feels Liverpool will still get a top-four spot.
Didi Hamann feels Liverpool will still get a top-four spot.

FORMER LIVERPOOL PLAYER Dietmar Hamann has defended Steven Gerrard in the wake of recent criticism of the star.

After they acquired a record high Premier League points tally last year and narrowly missed out on the league title, Liverpool’s form this season has been comparatively poor, as they currently sit 14th in the table.

Some critics and fans have suggested Gerrard’s diminishing powers and below-par performances are partly to blame for the Reds’ slow start to the season, however former teammate Hamann feels this is an overreaction.

“Stevie’s got at least another two years in him,” Hamann tells TheScore.ie. “He’s only a few weeks older than when he nearly won the league last year with Liverpool, so I don’t think that time makes so much of a difference. So he still has a lot to offer.

“I think he made a big decision in the summer by retiring from England. I think that was vital and it gives him the chance to play maybe five or 10 more games for Liverpool this season if he stays fit. Stevie’s been the standout performer for Liverpool in England over the last 15 years, so you always get very drastic reactions to a good or a bad performance.”

While acknowledging that Gerrard is “not getting any younger,” the pundit feels the Liverpool captain tends to attract unwarranted hyperbole all too often.

“On Saturday, he plays a great game and scores a goal [against Everton] and people say he’s not finished. A couple of days later [at Basel], people say he’s past his best. You’ve got to take a step back and put it into perspective and look at what he’s done and the role he’s playing now.

“In his new role, he’s relying on the players ahead of him. I think all these players can improve, they’ve not hit top gear yet, but that’s what happens with the best players. If it was someone else, they wouldn’t talk about it. But because of what he’s done in the last 15 years, it’s either black or white. But I think it’s somewhere in the middle.”

Hamann believes there has been an overreaction in relation to Liverpool in general and despite the dire start to their campaign, the former German international is confident they will come good eventually.

“I wouldn’t say it’s all gone wrong,” he says. “They had a very good result away to Spurs, they beat Southampton, who are now second in the league. They had a rocky start to the season, but I think that was expected when you achieve as much as they did last year, though without unfortunately winning the league.

“Teams want to show they can compete against you and on top of that, they signed quite a few new players. It’ll take them time to gel. And two of their most influential players going forward, Lallana and Sturridge, have been injured. So if you take all that into account, I don’t think it’s as bad a start to the season as people make out.

“I’ve got every belief that they’ll come good. They came good last year and it’s pretty much the same team. One player was sold in the summer, but five or six new ones came in. They’re all very exciting, talented players. But if you come to a new club and you come new to the Premier League, which some of the players have done, it will take them a few weeks to adapt.”

Moreover, the 41-year-old thinks a positive result against West Brom today could belatedly kick-start their season, while he also still fancies the Anfield club’s chances at getting one of the much-coveted Champions League spots come the end of the season.

“One result can make an awful lot of difference and if they get a win against West Brom, they climb up the table and things look differently. Whether they’ll achieve as much as last year, I don’t know. With the Champions League, it’s a different physical and mental demand. But I’m sure, they’ll be in the mix and they’ll get a top-four spot again.”

Dietmar Hamann was speaking at the launch of the new Liverpool FC store in Dublin’s Ilac Centre.

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Paul Fennessy

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