The greatest player ever to put on a Liverpool shirt, an England legend, my hero- Steven Gerrard.
Steven Gerrard has announced he will leave Liverpool Football Club at the end of the current season. A sad day for every football fan, and especially Liverpool fans such as myself.
I can’t express how upset I am to hear the news. The end of the season will mean goodbye to my childhood hero and the man that did so much for my beloved football team. I many not have been alive to see the likes of Dalglish, Rush, Keegan, Ian St John, Barnes and Souness at their best, but I have seen all the videos and my opinion remains the same: Steven Gerrard is the greatest Liverpool player ever to live.
For the years I have seen him play, he has persisted to carry Liverpool Football Club, both through the success and through the hardest times. I remember walking home from school during the 2004/2005 season, hearing a radio confirming Steven Gerrard had decided to stay at Liverpool having agreed to join Chelsea just days before and it was a memory I will never forget. Even he will admit, he hasn’t enjoyed success for his entire Liverpool career, but that’s what makes him the most loyal man in English Football. Given the way modern day football has developed, it is remarkable that Gerrard joined the Liverpool youth academy at the age 8 and to this day continues to be the heart of the Liverpool squad.
The famous goal versus Olympiakos at Anfield epitomises what Steven Gerrard means to Liverpool; when his side needed him the most, when it seemed as though Liverpool were crashing out of the Champions League, Stevie G stepped up to score one of the best goals I’ve ever seen, when, really, he would have taken a tap in from 6 yards out. As stupid as it sounds, I will never forget the commentary at that moment, on that night by Martin Tyler and Andy Grey. Goosebumps. When he first broke into the Liverpool side, he was asked how he thought his career would go and responded by explaining his wish to hold a position within the first team starting line up and perhaps be captain at the age of 30- I think its fair to say he achieved his goal, while also managing to become Liverpool’s greatest ever player in the meantime.
It may only be small time, sunday league football, but I have been and will always be insistent on wearing the number 8 jersey as it is the closest I get to being like my idol. I don’t even think I’d have chosen to be a central midfielder if it wasn’t for Steven Gerrard.
May 25th, 200- the night of the ‘Istanbul Miracle’. I’m sure the great man will admit that the famous Champions League triumph against AC Milan is his best moment in a Liverpool shirt. Without his goal to make it 3-1, I’m not sure we would have been able to rescue the game in the manner we did. I remember him saying he actually slept with the trophy on that night and that tells you all you need to know about Steven Gerrard and his commitment to Liverpool- legend. The same can be said for his performance against West Ham in the FA Cup final in 2006. I remember crying as we went 2-0 down and it looked as though I was going to have to face my West Ham supporter friends having lost. We were 3-2 down when the announcement was heard for how many minutes added time there would be and then bang! I watched in astonishment as captain fantastic powered home a volley from around 40 yards out, moments after being treated for cramp. He put everything into that shot and well and truly won the FA Cup for his side, without even scoring a winning goal. There are so many moments that I could talk about that epitomise what he meant to Liverpool and how much Liverpool meant to him.
He could shoot, he could play a perfect 40 yard pass, he could tackle, he could cross, he could dribble with the ball- he literately had it all in terms of footballing ability. Despite his undoubted technical brilliance, he possessed a desire, a determination and a hunger to win like no other player I’ve seen. Through the hardest times, he gave 100% every time he graced the football pitch. It is sad to think he may never receive a Premier League winners medal, but it can’t be said he hasn’t done enough to deserve one.
An influence to the footballers around him and a role model to young aspiring footballers, Steven Gerrard will go down as one of the football greats and, without a doubt, Liverpool’s greatest. In a way, I think that the number 8 jersey should be retired once Gerrard leaves as a sign that he will never be replaced, even if it was possible to replace a player like Steven Gerrard. Then again, I believe keeping the number 8 shirt would be a sign of the legacy Gerrard created, similar to the history surrounding Kenny Dalglish and the number 7 shirt. I believe it would add to the history surrounding the club and remind the next player to put on the number 8 shirt just how important it is and just how privileged they should be to wear the shirt of a legend.
Where ever you end up, good luck Stevie G. Thankyou for everything you have done for Liverpool Football Club, thankyou for the passion and the fight, thankyou for being my inspiration and idol. Let’s end the season and your Liverpool career on a high! You’ll Never Walk Alone…