The curtain is beginning to close on Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard’s career at the Merseyside club with the Premier League game against Crystal Palace at Anfield this Saturday being the final home game in his illustrious career with The Reds.
In over 17 years at the club, Gerrard has made over 500 appearances, scoring 119 goals and winning the Champions League, UEFA Cup, two FA Cups and three League Cups. Many were shocked when Gerrard called time on his Liverpool career at the age of 34, deciding instead to take on a new challenge with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Major League Soccer side are no strangers to high-ranking ex Premier League players, famously signing David Beckham in 2007 and more recently with Robbie Keane making the move to the American west coast. Despite offers closer to home, Gerrard has decided to make the transatlantic move, signing an 18 month deal with the Galaxy worth £6 million.
Gerrard has admitted to struggling with the realisation that his time at Liverpool is coming to an end. He joined Liverpool’s academy aged just nine, developing through his teenage years before making his first team debut in November 1998 against Blackburn Rovers. Through his career at Anfield, Gerrard developed into one of the best midfielders in world football, becoming both club captain and captain of the English national side. At international level Gerrard is the third most capped England player ever, gaining 114 England caps and scoring 21 times. He often formed a midfield partnership with Chelsea’s Frank Lampard – himself recently making the switch to the MLS with New York City FC. Both players were seen as part of England’s ‘golden generation’, individuals of the highest level but unfortunately, as a team, failing to deliver at international tournaments.
Gerrard has stated that his one main regret is not winning a Premier League title in his time at Liverpool. On more than one occasion he was courted by Chelsea, who could perhaps have given him a better chance of fulfilling that Premier League title dream, but on each occasion Gerrard chose to remain on Merseyside with the club he loves. Some have commented that perhaps the reason Gerrard has chosen to move to California is to ensure he does not ever have to come up in opposition to Liverpool competitively – a match up he clearly would not enjoy.
Throughout his career at Anfield Gerrard has, at times, carried his team to victory. This, coupled with him choosing to remain loyal to his local team for over 17 years in the face of lucrative offers from elsewhere, marks Gerrard as both a Liverpool, and a Premier Leaguegreat. Throughout their history, Liverpool have been blessed with legends of the game – both on and off the pitch. Players such as Phil Neal, Kevin Keegan, Graeme Souness and Kenny Dalglish have graced the Anfield pitch under the tutelage of managers such as Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan. Without doubt, Steven Gerrard will also go down in history as a Liverpool legend.
BY: SCOTT McGLYNN