According to multiple sources, including espnsoccernet.com, Steven Gerrard will miss the remainder of the season to have a shoulder operation. Gerrard had been close to his first fully healthy season in quite some time before this injury hit, an injury that draws another tally on a long list of past medical issues.
Fortunately, the shoulder is not vital to a soccer player's success. This injury is the equivalent of a pitcher in baseball hurting his ankle. But nonetheless anything wrong with Gerrard at this point is a worry.
The question must be asked whenever something like this happens: how much does he have left in the tank? His role on the team remains important. While the team will no longer lean on him to be a primary goalscorer or string puller, he is still a valuable asset in controlling games and providing sparks of magic. Furthermore, his presence in the locker room is invaluable for a team clearly entering a phase of transition.
Gerrard will retire when his body quits on him. I foresee his retirement coming perhaps six seasons in the future. But the worry is that in the last of those years his body may deteriorate enough to put Liverpool in an awkward situation. Will the manager have it in him to sit Gerrard on the bench? Will Gerrard have it in him to accept that role?
We all know what Gerrard plays for. He wants to win the Premiership. Bringing the title back to Liverpool is the last frontier for a man who has had the career of a superhero. But this frontier appears painfully far away. Liverpool is swimming against the tide just to finish in the top four, let alone win it all.
This surgery serves as a reminder to us fans to enjoy Gerrard while we can. To savor every vintage pass and every heart stopping long shot. Because there will be a time when his body stops taking the pain and we'll be left only with memories of what was. What incredibly was.