It’s the end of an era for Liverpool F.C. after the announcement that Steven Gerrard is set to leave the club he joined as a nine-year-old at the end of the season and Eoghan Wallace feels his stature in the game is overrated.

Gerrard’s time at Liverpool is defined by iconic moments: the comeback he inspired in Istanbul, the screamer against Olympiakos a few months earlier that saved Liverpool from group stage elimination, and of course the FA Cup final the following year which still bears his name. 

These “wow” moments have elevated Gerrard to the status of a club legend at Anfield but they occurred during a sustained period of brilliance (2005-06). However such glimpsed moments fail to overshadow that slip.

For all the silverware Gerrard has won, the one title that has eluded him is the Premier League. The close of last season was agonising for Liverpool fans; a first title since 1990 loomed large but in a crucial tie against Chelsea, Gerrard slipped and allowed Demba Ba in for that decisive goal. After a loss and a draw in their final three games, the wheels fell off and Manchester City won the league by two points. 

There is however a mysticism surrounding Gerrard and his status in England as one of the game’s all-time greats. Gerrard’s long-term loyalty to Liverpool, or martyrdom depending on one's view, will only further swell his false status as one of the greatest midfielders of all time. 

In short Gerrard is not even the greatest English midfielder of his generation. Two England midfielders who better fit the bill are Paul Scholes and Frank Lampard.

In terms of silverware, Lampard has matched and surpassed Gerrard’s achievements by winning three league titles, while only the UEFA Cup is missing from Scholes’s cabinet; an empty space I’m sure doesn’t give him many sleepless nights.

In terms of goalscoring, Lampard (176) is 60 Premier League goals ahead of Gerrard (116). Scholes sits just behind, on 107 goals, and given that both Lampard and Gerrard were designated penalty takers, Scholes’ record looks all the better. 31 of Gerrard’s Premier League goals came from the penalty spot, while 48 of Lampards have come from penalties.

For all the plaudits Scholes garnered during his career he has fewer direct league assists (45) than Lampard (96) and Gerrard (100), or goals (107). Of course statistics can be misleading.

During Spain and Barcelona’s complete domination of the game, Xavi was highlighted as the heart and soul of both sides. The diminutive pass master was the poster boy for aficionados of tiki-taka football.

Astonishingly Xavi’s total number of direct assists in La Liga is only 44. Andrea Pirlo, the man who stole the hearts of many male football fans after Euro 2012, has only directly assisted 36 goals in Serie A. 

Despite this both men have won the World Cup and are widely regarded as two of the greatest European midfielders of the last decade. Another trait both men have in common is their appreciation of Scholes. 

Speaking about English football a few years back, Xavi said, “In the last 15 to 20 years the best central midfielder that I have seen – the most complete – is Scholes.” 

Pirlo, in his autobiography, proclaimed, “The only great English midfielder in my career was Paul Scholes. He had elegance in him. Others were pretenders.”

Of course ranking players in lists of all-time greats is not a science and yet nothing gives fans greater joy than debating this topic. 

There is no denying that Steven Gerrard was a wonderful player at his pomp but his career feels more like a highlights reel of great moments rather than one of sustained brilliance and success, such as Lampard and Scholes enjoyed. 

Gerrard in his heyday was pure box office; he scored 30-yard screamers, he unashamedly wore his heart on his sleeve, and played his socks off until the final whistle.

Xavi and Pirlo are in complete contrast. Neither man is going to score from outside the box in play, both are calmness personified, and neither seem to break a sweat when pulling the strings in centre midfield. 

Gerrard had a wonderful career but he is nowhere near the likes of Xavi or Pirlo in the ranks of greatest midfielders of all time