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Liverpool will miss Gerrard

When Steven Gerrard suffered a rare blemish in the middle of his latest masterclass, AFC Wimbledon's fans pounced on the topic that will dominate Liverpool's agenda between now and the day he takes his leave.

"You're not wanted any more" rang around Cherry Red Records Stadium in Kingston as the home supporters put their own twist on Gerrard's decision to decline a new Liverpool contract and move to the United States next summer.

Liverpool's followers were only too happy to offer the conflicting view - and no wonder after their 34-year-old captain once again dragged them out of hazardous terrain to safety almost single-handed with both goals in this 2-1 FA Cup third round win.

Gerrard's departure next May has been presented by Liverpool and the player himself as the right time for the parting of the ways. This iconic captain's future would have been carefully managed had he stayed another year, with his number of performances inevitably reduced.

It seems Gerrard does not want, or indeed deserve, to close out his magnificent career with a lengthy spell of bench-warming.

It is tempting to use every significant Gerrard intervention as part of the case for the prosecution to accuse Liverpool of failing to do enough to keep him - and even this superb performance should be placed in the context that it was with a middling League Two team in opposition.

And would he be able to sustain this level of performance and energy, especially in a more advanced role, on a weekly basis in the Premier League into next season? Valid questions but questions Liverpool's fans were prepared to set to one side on Monday.