I feel like I've written the following before. Here we have a player with undoubted class who brings something to the team that is pretty much unique to him. When he's on the field, Liverpool are a more composed side, a more dynamic side. They carry a threat that they don't when he's not on the pitch. But the problem is he's not on the pitch enough, and there's have been enough seasons now where he hasn't been on the pitch enough that we have to question if there's a point in keeping him at all. And while the team will miss his class, we may have to trade some of that for dependability. While you could write that paragraph about four or five Reds, today it's about Fabio Aurelio.
Positives: The first thing that jumped into my mind in the game against Stoke when Dalglish first opted for the 3-4-2-1 formation, with Aurelio occupying a holding midfield spot along Lucas. I nearly gagged. Rafa Benitez had tried to shoehorn Aurelio into the center of midfield before, and it never worked. He looked lost. Surely he would again. I couldn't have been more wrong. With a far more confident and effective Lucas protecting him, Aurelio spread passes all over the pitch, started attacks, and gave the whole team composure on the ball. His free-kick delivery is still best on the team, and he's the only one who can do it left-footed. He returned to the bench when Gerrard was fit. When he did start at left-back, he's still a reliable threat and probably the team's best crosser of the ball (Gerrard's skill at this has taken a half-step back). And he's not a useless defender either, as he has enough pace to cover for his continued forays forward.
Negatives: But we only saw that 7 times from the start in a league game. Most of this was health, some of it was Roy Hodgson's continued desire to push Paul Konchesky out there -- a decision that will go down somewhere around your 8-year old licking the outlet socket, and then doing it again. Aurelio has never managed more than 19 league games, though he wasn't always first choice. But something is always falling off of him or going "twang!".
Outlook: I suppose if Aurelio is willing to take the same pay-to-play deal that he did this year, he could have a role on next year's team. But when the shopping lists come out for the summer, almost everyone pegs left-back as the first spot Liverpool should fill. That means Aurelio will be nothing more than second-choice. Then again, he might not find better than that anywhere else. Aurelio can provide something, and can float between midfield and the defense. What we do know is that he just can't be counted of to be either regularly.
Notes: Well, one. Soccernet is reporting that Liverpool are opening talks with Blackpool about Charlie Adam. After the signing of Jordan Henderson, color me confused. I get that they want to snap up anyone young and British (or with oodles of Premier League experience), but are we trotting out a 2-7-1 formation next season? Adam sprays too many passes, isn't all that young actually, and plays in a position we already have a wealth of. Maybe they think down the road that Adam-Henderson can replace all the things Steven Gerrard did, but this is getting a bit silly, isn't it?