Sad news was confirmed this morning when Liverpool FC icon Steven Gerrard´s departure became official. For almost 17 years he´s been, not my hero, I am too old for that, but the player I have always referred to when describing the complete footballer. Next season we will not see him in the red shirt, it will be a strange and unreal feeling.
I remember seeing him at the start of his career and wondering how this raw kid could keep more seasoned midfielders on the bench. It didn´t take long before I knew why. Steven Gerrard was a unique player. It was evident after just a few games in the red kit.
Since then he has taken us supporters to highs not possible if he hadn´t existed. Because during his 17 seasons hardly any Liverpool team has been of significant quality. Without Gerrard Liverpool wouldn´t have come near the trophies and wonderful matches as we fans has been fortunate to experience. Olympiacos, Milan, West Ham to name a few.
Steven Gerrard leaves at a time when he should be enjoying a season as reigning league champion. But a slippery blade of grass stood in his way to the ultimate prize, the final glory. He ends his career with a lot of trophies to his name but without the Premier League. Gerrard and Liverpool has been runners-up three times during his career, in 2002, 2009 and 2014.
After last season´s near miss he was devastated and I think that has influenced his decision now. He knew when Luis Suarez left that Liverpool wouldn´t be in the title fight this season and probably not for a few years. It was back to rebuilding. He had missed his chance and it would never come back. Gerrard didn´t want to play out another season or two as an also-ran so he decided to seek pastures new. That is at least my guess.
He´s had many ups and downs, mostly ups, during his Liverpool years but the thing that must have been the toughest was to almost always play alongside players far below his own capacity. He loved Liverpool too much to leave so he endured season after season with players who couldn´t help him fulfil his Premier League dream.
And when a few world-class players did arrive it was never really enough to lift Liverpool to the summit. And then they left, like Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez, and Gerrard knew that a couple of trophy-less years was to follow again. Through his career he has been the one to drag the team forward, only once in a while he´s got help from other players of the highest calibre to do it.
Had he played for another, richer club, then he would now have ten Premier League medals in his trophy cabinet. Steven Gerrard is one of the best players ever not to win the top tier in English football. I feel sad about that fact but all the fantastic memories he´s given me is what I in the end will remember about the player I have respected most through all my years as a Liverpool and a football fan.
I wish him all the luck in his final months at Anfield and in the future and can´t wait for him to return as manager for Liverpool FC with Jamie Carragher as his assistant, because then:
We Go Again.