27 years of having Steven Gerrard be a part of just one club: Liverpool Football Club. Signed for Liverpool in 1988, and coming to an end after 27 years in two matches’ time. With the match against Crystal Palace over the weekend being his last at Anfield, the situation couldn’t be more emotional – for the fans and for Steven Gerrard himself. It’s been two days since it hit me like a bullet that Steven Gerrard would be leaving Liverpool and moving on to LA Galaxy. In those two days, I’ve done nothing but contemplate how to put down Steven Gerrard into words.
I have so many things I want to say about Steven Gerrard but I think my emotions would be best expressed by wordless wailing. However, since I’ve decided to put it to words, I could open up a thesaurus and use every adjective from spectacular to mesmerizing, but none of them will properly describe a hero. A hero. It’s thrown around a lot and has a thousand definitions. During his 27 years with Liverpool, Steven Gerrard has made his name one of those definitions and, perhaps, the greatest of all.
There aren’t many players like him. Today, it’s a rarity if a local player stays at a club as long as he did. With Gerrard gone, the only native sons left in Liverpool’s first team are Rickie Lambert and Jon Flanagan. It’s the sign of an era ending. LA Galaxy aren’t taking a Liverpool player, they’re partly taking Liverpool Football Club.
As fans, we have to keep in mind that these players could leave at any time. There are some we don’t mind seeing gone, but then there are those that cause us physical pain when we see them leave the club. Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres, Jamie Carragher and Luis Suarez are names that pop up in recent memory. However, it’s different with Steven Gerrard.
I cannot thank him enough for being the reason I watch football today. ‘Steven Gerrard, what a player!’ I used to hear people say. I wanted to know who this Steven Gerrard was. With no prior knowledge of football, on a random weekend, I put on a live football match. And it just happened to be a Manchester United vs Liverpool match in which I saw Gerrard score a glorious free kick, run to the corner in celebration and kiss the camera. That was it. I called it fate. I was hooked on to Steven Gerrard and the club he belonged to. There began the Steven Gerrard, Liverpool and football love story.
I’m sure I’m speaking for every Liverpool fan when I say that I’m going to miss seeing that No. 8 shirt in the centre midfield; the ‘Gerrard 8’ shirt. I’m going to miss our penalty taker, our free kick taker, and our corner taker. I’m going to miss the reason I started watching football in the first place. I’m also sure I might sometimes unknowingly wonder about why Stevie isn’t in the team when I’ll then remember why not.
As long as I’ve been watching Liverpool, Gerrard always blew my mind.
The mid-2000’s, when Gerrard was superhuman, were unbelievable. Istanbul; practically an adjective amongst Kopites. His career high was his unforgettable performance as captain in the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan in Istanbul where his header nine minutes into the second half inspired an unlikely comeback that can be arguably called the greatest ever; with Gerrard himself terming it as the best night of his life. Being captain he led Liverpool to their fifth European Cup title, along with other honours being one FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup. He says he goes away with just one regret of not winning a Premier League title with Liverpool, and we all wish he could have had, for he deserves it more than anyone. The fact that he’s won everything but the Premier League isn’t his fault, but the club’s. He was always so proud of playing for Liverpool, so proud of that badge, so proud of the Liver-bird upon his chest and so proud and privileged of being Liverpool’s captain: our Captain Fantastic. No amount of money or other clubs’ glory ever swayed him from his boyhood club, his dream club, and his “number one club”. It was always going to be Liverpool.
I’ll never forget his hat-trick against Everton at Anfield in 2012. His goal from the match against Manchester City in 2013 was absolutely splendid. Nor will I forget the emotion on his face after that victory which is enough to show how much his hometown club means to him. Unforgettable were also his two goals against Manchester United at Old Trafford last year. So many uncountable highlights of his career, as a player and captain. His place can never be taken in the team. Nobody can fill the void he leaves behind. I hope to see him as coach of Liverpool someday, even if it is a long wait. He’ll always be a part of Liverpool FC – in the team or not.
I think I speak for everyone here when I say, if Stevie cries, I will cry. Speaking just for myself, perhaps, even if Stevie doesn’t cry, I will cry.
With a total of 708 appearances and 185 goals for Liverpool until now, this man goes down as one of the biggest legends of the club. Kenny Dalglish may be the greatest individual our club as seen, but Steven Gerrard is our greatest ever player. Zinedine Zidane, a legend himself, considered Gerrard to be the best in the world. Some of the best in the world considered Gerrard to be the best – which for me he was, and will always be.
To say that I’m heartbroken about Steven Gerrard leaving Liverpool is an understatement. I am absolutely devastated that he is leaving but I also appreciate how much he has done for the club and how much of an icon he really is. He is without a doubt one of the best midfielders Liverpool has ever had and will go down in history. Thanks for everything, Stevie. You’ll never walk alone.
And for one last time, I need him to be the one who takes us home.