Liverpool captain and talisman, Steven Gerrard has decided to call it quits on his playing career with the Reds after weeks and months of speculation about his future. Brendan Rodgers had left the options open to his influential skipper and playmaker to extend his career yet further and potentially finish his playing days at the club he has played for all his life. However, Gerrard has ruled that eventuality out and will walk away from the club at the end of the season, with an announcement that has shocked some of the current team such as his fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson.

Gerrard called the decision “the toughest” of his life when interviewed after confirming his stance to the club, recognising that at 34 years of age the time was right for both himself and his family to try pastures new, in much the same manner as Frank Lampard did with Chelsea at the end of last season. The Scouse legend was out of contract next summer (and will now leave on a free transfer) and felt that he should make his position clear now after twenty-five years’ service with the club, having joining them at the tender age of nine years old. Almost 700 games later and with 180 goals for the club, he deserves the accolades and recognition he has received down the years.

It seems likely that he will seek a new challenge somewhere else rather than hang his playing boots up straight away, with many suggesting a move to the United States may be favoured. Fans on the Red side of Merseyside will hope that he does not decide to follow Lampard and play for another Premier League team, that could result in having to see him play against Liverpool somewhere down the line. Gerrard for his part seems to have ruled that out as he could not see himself playing for anyone else in England because of that very possibility.

Although he has been a shining light during a period where Liverpool have for the main part fallen away from challenging for the league title (the one major domestic honour to have eluded him during a tremendous career), he can look back on winning ten trophies during his time with the club. Maybe most famously was the Champions League victory over AC Milan in 2005, where he sparked a comeback the like of which will probably never be witnessed again. One also remembers his bullet of a shot that brought his team back from the dead in the FA Cup final against West Ham in 2006. Numerous Player of the Year awards also adorn his trophy and honours’ cabinet in addition to over one hundred caps for his country.

Fans will no doubt have many fond memories of his heroic performances down the years, from his first goal for the club against Sheffield Wednesday, any of the nine goals he scored against arch rivals Manchester United, through those memorable European nights and the long range piledriving goals he scored, including THAT goal against Olympiakos that kept the Champions League dream alive. Although his England career did not quite scale the heights and standards he consistently achieved for his club, Liverpool fans would probably place him right up there with ‘King Kenny’ Dalglish and top goalscorer Ian Rush in their estimation of the true greats that have graced the famous Anfield turf, at least in the last thirty years. They will also celebrate the fact that he turned down the possibility of leaving the club at the peak of his powers when Chelsea among others came calling for his services, a decision that probably cost him further silverware but retained his admiration from fans of the Merseyside club.

Whatever he does next, Liverpool fans will no doubt wish him well and hope he returns later in some capacity to either coach or even manage his beloved club, perhaps forming the ‘dream team’ with another devoted Red, Jamie Carragher. For now, he will continue in his efforts to move Liverpool back up the table this season and to seek further progress in both the Europa League and Capital One Cup, with a final piece of silverware a fitting leaving present come the end of the season. “Walk on” Stevie G !

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