Numbers don’t always tell the story, but when you have numbers that read 17 years, 708 appearance, 185 goals, 12 years as captain – they tell a story. They tell a story of a boy who dreamed of playing for his club. They tell the story of a man who carried the expectations of his city and club with the respect and dignity they deserved. They tell the story of STEVEN GERRARD.
Words such as iconic, talisman and legend are bandied about loosely. But when used in the context of Stevie G, they truly stand up to the test and pass with flying colors.
Over the years Liverpool Football Club (LFC) have had many a talented player come and go; some in their prime with years of good football ahead of them. But never has an exit cast such a pall of gloom over the Anfield faithful. Even when he was on the bench, or out through injury or suspension, there was a belief that he would set everything right. Just the sight of him warming up on the sidelines could lift the team and the supporters.
Screamers – there have been many. I am sure opposition managers always told their goalkeepers, “If Stevie gets the ball get to your line and be alert.” When he put his foot through a ball, it was usually with the intent to score. He knew his club and he knew that we, the Kop, demanded nothing less. A quick browse of YouTube videos of his long-range goals captures in small measure the excitement that Gerrard brought to the field.
There isn’t a safe penalty taker, although it might just happen that he missed the last penalty he took for the club. A dead ball, 12 years out, you want Stevie on the ball.
Then there is the range of passing. He could see a move and play the ball exactly where his teammate needed it. It is safe to say that Gerrard’s range of passing made a lot of players look better than they were. Whether it was a ball through a sea of legs, or a 40-yarder to change the play to the other wing – Stevie would make the pass. He could land a ball on a coin 40 yards away.
Sadly, Stevie played in a series of average LFC teams. He never really had the quality that could match him or make use of his talents. The couple of times he did – Torres and Suarez – you could see the twinkle in his eyes. He’d get the ball at the half-way line, look up, and ping in the perfect pass for these master finishers. Unfortunately, it never came together during his time at the club.
Here I have put out the team that I feel Stevie G deserved to play on. A team that might have won him the elusive Premier League. The only condition I had when I put together this list was that the players should have played alongside him during their time at the club.