There are few more inspiring sights in #Football than a box-to-box midfielder, someone who makes last-ditch tackles at one end and then smashes in wonder-goals at the other. Former #Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard was among the best of them.

Gerrard announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday after a 19-year career. He spent 17 of those years fulfilling a childhood dream in the red of Liverpool before departing (appropriately) for Hollywood and MLS side LA Galaxy. Central midfielder Gerrard made 710 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 186 goals. He won nine trophies including a Champions League and two FA Cups.

Advertisements
Advertisements

He also played 114 times for England, scoring 21 goals.

The man for the big occasion

Gerrard will be best remembered for his Liverpool performances. His passion and ability to raise his game for the big occasion led Gerard Houllier to name him captain back in 2003. Gerrard’s captaincy was based on leading by example rather than barking instructions, as he showed during his finest moments in a Liverpool shirt.

The high point of his career was undoubtedly the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan in Istanbul. Milan boasted the likes of Paolo Maldini, Clarence Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo, and Kaka. Liverpool, on the other hand, had a squad which finished below Everton in fifth in the #Premier League. Djimi Traore, Harry Kewell and Milan Baros all started in Istanbul.

In one of the greatest games in the competition’s history, Gerrard inspired Liverpool to come back from a 3-0 deficit at half-time to level at 3-3.

Advertisements

They went on to win on penalties.

The following year in 2006, Liverpool won the FA Cup in equally dramatic fashion. Up against West Ham, the Reds were outplayed for most of the match. They were 3-2 down heading into stoppage time when Gerrard slammed in a spectacular half volley. Once again, Liverpool won on penalties.

The ones that slipped away

Gerrard is among the greatest players never to win a Premier League title. In many of his 17 seasons with the Reds, he was the shining light in a mediocre squad. He dragged his side through matches, and holds the record for most winning goals in the 90th minute or later (4).

But Liverpool did come agonisingly close to the title twice, led on both occasions by Gerrard and a world-class striker. The first time was back in 2008/09 when Fernando Torres was at his peak, but Liverpool lost out narrowly to Manchester United.

The second time was arguably more painful. Inspired by Luis Suarez, Liverpool went goal crazy in 2013/14 and looked set to claim an unlikely title after beating Manchester City 3-2 at Anfield.

Advertisements

But they came unstuck after a 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea during which Gerrard infamously slipped to allow Demba Ba through to score. He has since admitted it was the lowest point of his career. Man City were the eventual champions.

Disappointment for England

Gerrard was part of England’s so-called golden generation alongside players such as John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney. They were all performing exceptionally well at club level, but never really delivered on the international stage.

Gerrard and Lampard were two of the leading central midfielders in Europe, but never gelled for England. Gerrard was often shifted out to the left side to accommodate Lampard, and many think that is why we never saw his Liverpool form in an England shirt.

What’s next?

A coaching role at his beloved Liverpool appears inevitable for Gerrard. He is working towards his coaching badges and current manager Jurgen Klopp hinted in a press conference on Thursday that his door is always open.

Klopp, a cult figure at previous club Borussia Dortmund, could be the man to bring the title back to Liverpool. Gerrard may not be as decorated as some Liverpool players that preceded him, but he epitomised the spirit that drew Klopp to Anfield. He won games, arguably trophies, single-handedly. That is why he will be remembered as one of the all-time greats.