2nd January 2015, the day Steven Gerrard announces his decision to leave Liverpool when his contract expires in the summer of 2015. After a 26 year association with his home town club it was an announcement that would surprise everyone associated with Liverpool. He will be 35 years old when his contract expires.
Is Steven Gerrard Liverpool’s greatest ever player? It’s a question which is impossible to prove, but possible to argue. There shouldn’t be any doubt about Gerrard being Liverpool’s greatest ever Premier League player. Gerrard was quoted stating his decision to leave Liverpool was “the toughest” he has ever made which is obvious after nearly 700 appearances for the club.
Steven Gerrard will leave Liverpool with only one major club trophy to elude him. The Premier League. It will probably be his only regret from his club career. It always raises the debate if Gerrard should have joined Chelsea when he had the opportunity in the summer of 2005 following a transfer request. By doing that he may have won that elusive Premier League crown, but at the cost of millions of Liverpool fans around the world. His medal collection however isn’t to bad despite the absence of the league title. He has 1 Champions League, 2 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 2 UEFA Super Cup and 1 Charity Shield to boast.
What drove Gerrard to this decision? He had been offered an extension to his current deal but Gerrard felt the need to announce he would leave the club. Brendan Rodgers did predict that Gerrard would end his career with The Reds as a central defender but recently issued a warning to Gerrard that he might not be used in every fixture. Maybe this lead to Gerrard making the decision to quit Liverpool?
He has been linked with a move to the MLS. LA Galaxy appear to keen as are New York Red Bull. Thierry Henry’s old club have Gerard Houllier in a Sporting Director role. Maybe this could prove vital in these two sides battling for his signature. Gerrard did announce however he wouldn’t join a “direct” rival of Liverpool. This should rule out a Lampard like move to another Premier League Club.
When you think of Gerrard’s greatest performances for Liverpool, 2 games instantly come to mind. The 2006 FA Cup final against West Ham United. Gerrard produced a man of the match performance to drag Liverpool from 0-2 and 2-3 down capping his display off with a 91st minute equaliser when he struck from 30 yards on the half volley. It was one of the great FA Cup goals at a moment that allowed Liverpool to go onto win the cup on penalties. The 2nd game that comes to mind is Liverpool’s famous night in Istanbul. The greatest turnaround not only in a Champions League Final, but any final in world football. Liverpool vs AC Milan, the Italian side were packed with some of the best players in the world. They lead 3-0 at half time. Liverpool looked doomed. Then stood forward a captain, a man who pulled an entire football club from the ashes to glory. His header to make it 3-1 drove Liverpool on. Another penalty shoot out following another 3-3 draw saw Liverpool capture Europe’s elite crown, the UEFA Champions League. Liverpool’s 5th major European competition win.
Liverpool and the Premier League can never replace Steven Gerrard, he is one of the greatest of his generation and leaves a huge impossible hole to fill. Nearly 700 appearances for Liverpool, over 100 caps for England Steven Gerrard leaves the English game remembered as a player who set the standard for one of the greatest ever midfield footballers.