How incredibly quick 17 years flies past you. It feels like yesterday Steven Gerrard made his debut in a Liverpool shirt - but in fact it was 16 years and 6 months ago. And now it´s just two games to go, and only one at Anfield left. It´s hitting home and it´s not a nice feeling.
On the 29th of November 1998 local lad 18-year old Steven Gerrard entered Anfield in the 90th minute to make his first appearence for his beloved Liverpool FC. He started five matches and came on as a sub in eight matches in the 1998/99 season. The following season he really established himself and from time to time kept players like Danny Murphy, Vladimir Smicer and Jamie Redknapp out of the starting eleven.
His scored for the first time in a red shirt on the 5th of December 1999 when Liverpool demolished Sheffield Wednesday 4-1 at L4. Up to that match I was not completely convinced about the raw youngster but in that game he really arrived for me. The turning point was his fantastic solo goal to make it 3-1. Then I knew Liverpool had discovered some heck of a player.
The way he at full speed danced past two defenders, what we now would describe as Coutinhoesque style, and hit a low shot into corner was pure magic.
The goal can be seen ocn You Tube at this adress: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVc65NiCXIY - fast forward to the 21st minute of the clip and enjoy.
Since then Gerrard has scored a lot of important and spectacular goals, played over 700 matches for the Reds and won a few trophies along the way. My all-time favourite Gerrard goal is the one he scored against Olympiakos which sent Liverpool through from the group stage of the 2004/05 Champions League and we all know how that campaign ended. Check that goal out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9AW3RjHjmA.
The memories are in abundance but soon enough no new ones will be created. It will be strange to see Liverpool without Captain Fantastic next season. I have always thought of him as the perfect role model for footballers, both on and off the pitch. We will probably never again witness a player of the same calibre representing Liverpool for so long and with such distinction.
Hopefully Steven Gerrard can end his playing career in Liverpool with two wins and a couple of goals. I will certainly have my fingers crossed. And would it not be a fitting end if he could get a hattrick against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Saturday in his last outing in front of (crying?) Kopites? Gerrard will never say we go again as a player but perhaps he can return as a manager in the not too distant future and once more utter his own cult words:
We Go Again.