Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool and England captain had his farewell match in the game between Liverpool and Crystal palace on saturday. The match ended a joy spoiler. After 17 years in Liverpool, it was time for Gerrard to try an entirely new environment as he moves to the United States of America.
The match started with a tribute in the way of a crowd mosaic and a guard of honour from all players to commemorate the departure of the Liverpool and the England captain. Despite his best efforts to make the match memorable , it was not to be as Liverpool lost 1 – 3 to Crystal Palace.
Wilfred Zaha of Crystal Palace spoilt the farewell party for Steven Gerrard, as Crystal Palace defeated Liverpool 3 – 1. Zaha’s goal came just 22 second after his introduction into the game amidst calls that Zaha was off side. It is a sad way to end a 17 year career in Liverpool.
A disappointing Gerrard none the less showed appreciation to the crowd as a banner reading ‘Steven Gerrard one of a kind’ was raised. Also on hand to lend support to their father was Gerrard three daughters. Gerrard is leaving the Premiership and Liverpool for the US major league side Los Angeles Galaxy.
Gerrard had been with the Liverpool side in the last 17years. Gerrard’s 354th and final Anfield appearance against Crystal Palace on Saturday ended a disappointment.
Gerard Houllier once said told Steven Gerrard in 2002 to ‘stay out of night clubs now and you can buy one when you finish playing.’ He was not aware at that time that Gerrard’s loss on concentration was as a result of the divorce of his parent. He may not own the night club, and certainly wishes he had avoided a few more in the intervening years, but as he prepares to head off to a mansion on the California coast with worldwide respect, 10 trophies and more than 700 appearances for his boyhood club for the baggage, he can few regrets.
The absence of a premier league trophy is his biggest regrets.
His manager, Brenda Rogers said his staff once described Gerrard in one word ‘Liverpool.’ According to Rogers, ‘This is a guy who is very much about looking after his people. He loves his city. He’s had a number of opportunities to move to prestigious clubs but Liverpool is his home, he grew up around the corner, this is his place and these are the people he loves. What he’s given to this city, politicians have not given the city.
All the work he does for local hospital and charities goes unheralded. He is a wonderful symbol for the people here and an incredible icon of the club. You look at Steven Gerrard and he is more than football.
According to Rogers, Gerrard absence will be acutely felt off the pitch. Even with the legs tiring, he retains a status in Liverpool that no one around the first team can rival. After 17 years and a lifelong allegiance to the club, he knows the standard required.
Rogers added that Gerrard ‘never has a lazy day. His mind never wonders far from performing well every single day. He gives his maximum in every session and that drips feeds through into the other players.’ He said ‘it is going to prove an opportunity for a number of players now to step up. This will provide the opportunity for others to show leadership qualities.
‘There is absolutely no doubt with the respect that he has his behaviour and because of the level of player that he is, and the respect he carries in the changing room will be missed. But that has shown others the standard you are you are held at when you are a world class player. It is an opportunity for the young players to show they can take on the mantle.
On his part, Gerrard said ‘I always knew this moment was going to be toughest.
“To fear the world US has led for the better part of a century, abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe and refuse the obligations of international leadership… for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solving problems is unpatriotic. “
-US Senator John McCain(At National Constitution Centre in Philadelphia)
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