Paul Scholes: Frustrated Steven Gerrard should have started crucial game between Liverpool and Manchester United

EXCLUSIVE: The Liverpool captain instead came on at half-time before being almost immediately sent off

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The Independent Football

Watching Steven Gerrard on Sunday, I suspect that his first thought while he was warming up during the first half was “How am I not playing in this game?” His second would have been that when he did get on, he was going to put a few tackles in and get the home crowd going.

He certainly managed the tackles, and in fact even his first challenge on Juan Mata was one of those that was only just timed OK. By the time he was into Ander Herrera his frustration had got the better of him.

Should he have started the game? Of course he should. There was only one person who can have thought that Gerrard was not right to start against Manchester United at Anfield in a must-win game for Liverpool, and that was Brendan Rodgers.

United were brilliant in the first half, but if they had been up against Gerrard then it might have been different. He had the frustration of not playing in the game, and then he had to watch a first half in which none of his team-mates even made a tackle. It is not nice to stand on the sideline and see your own team getting destroyed at home to a big rival.

I can see what he was trying to do when he came on: put a few tackles in and get the crowd going. But even when you can feel the emotions rising in you, the most important thing is control. I got sent off a few times in my life but I never lost my head. I mistimed tackles and I made mistakes.

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Gerrard is getting closer to his final game at Anfield and his final game for Liverpool. Anfield will be a special place for him, just as Old Trafford was for me. The first time I retired, only Sir Alex Ferguson and I knew that the last league game of the 2010-11 season against Blackpool was to be my final game at Old Trafford. I was a little bit sad but I am not one for tears. The end of a career comes to us all and there is not a lot you can do about that.

 

I took a look around. My family were there in the private box that we rented during my time at United, and then that was it. We played the Champions League final six days later. Then in eight months’ time, I was back in the first-team squad! When I finally quit for the second time in the summer of 2013 I had accepted that this really was the end and, having got over that, the move into retirement was a lot easier.

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