The day that we all knew would come is finally here. Arguably Liverpool Football Club’s best ever player, and one of the greatest servants of the city, is set to hang up his famous number 8 shirt for the final time.
The news that Steven Gerrard is set to leave Liverpool Football Club for the MLS at the end of the season has the city divided. Fans are asking “Is he still capable of competing in the elite Premier League?” and “Surely this can’t be true?”
There are those of us that are not wanting to let our captain go, feeling there is still more left in the tank. This season Gerrard has shown his class with his dead ball skills, netting another world-class goal in Europe and continuing his great penalty record – scoring two goals against Leicester at the weekend, taking his tally to 23 goals out of 30 penalties in the Premier League. The Liverpool captain still has so much to offer; his invaluable experience, leadership and knowledge of the game will be a huge loss to the team on and off the pitch.
Then you have fans on the flip side, who will be looking to the future of the club and will argue that Istanbul was ten years ago and that, as amazing as that night was, we need to move on. Everyone can see that Gerrard isn’t the player he once was and, granted, there have been some average performances by the Liverpool captain this season. But at this stage in his career, we can’t expect him to turn out the world-class performances we have all become accustomed to.
Whichever side that you sit on, the Premier League will have lost one of the greatest midfielders the world has ever seen. If we want to see Gerrard running down a ball before burying it in the back of the net like he has done on so many occasions – Olympiacos and the 2006 FA cup final against West Ham spring to mind – or delivering world-class cross pitch passes, and picking up players anywhere on the pitch as he leads the line, then we’ll have to catch it on ESPN as of next year.
The biggest question is ‘How do we replace what can’t be replaced?’ Back when Kegan departed in the 70s, fans wondered who would score the goals…..enter Kenny Dalglish, the only player that can challenge Gerrard for the affections of the Liverpool fans. But that was then and this is now. Brendan Rodgers has been questionable in the transfer window and looks set to be under the scrutiny of the Anfield faithful, should he not find a suitable replacement or not let the captain go without a fight.
No matter what happens at the end of the season, we’ll all be able to look back on what has been one of the greatest footballing careers. And the fans will always thank Gerrard for the memories and for the famous nights in Europe that he delivered, time and time again. Good luck Stevie G – you’ll never walk alone.