The official Liverpool FC player profile for Steven Gerrard opens with a proclamation: “Once in a generation a player comes along to whom nothing seems impossible. Luckily that man wears the No.8 shirt at Anfield.”
For many supporters for the club representing the red side of Merseyside, Steven Gerrard is more than just a player. He is an icon, a sacred treasure; he is their Captain Fantastic. He is an extension to the club he’s been indebted to and served for nearly seventeen years. He has won almost every major title and award in his career since debuting in November 1998, even receiving an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II for his service on the English national team. The only major titles eluding him are the Premier League and World Cup, though he has retired from national team duty.
With the announcements that Gerrard will leave Liverpool, and join Major League Soccer at the end of the Premier League season, supporters are bracing the end of a memorable run for one of English football’s most celebrated figures of the modern era. We will take a look at five great moments from Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool career.
5. Goal of the Season: 2005-06 Stunner vs. West Ham United
Widely considered as one of the best players in the world, Stevie G would turn in a memorable thirty-five yard blast against West Ham United in the FA Cup final. As an additional four minutes were signaled by the board, the ball was headed away by a defender, bouncing to Gerrard, who delivered a marksman-level strike, beating out Trinidadian goalkeeper Shaka Hislop’s outstretched hands. The goal sent the Liverpool faithful into raptures at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, as Gerrard’s second goal leveled the score at three. Liverpool would win the cup on penalties.
4. The Breakout Year: 2000-01
The 2000-01 campaign would be the first real test for young Gerrard on the first team. Often starting alongside and learning from Gary McAllister in central midfield, Gerrard expressed no fear with his penchant for long-range goals. Several supporters from within the Kop would gleefully chant his name, as he would help Liverpool win a Treble: the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup over Spain’s Alaves. Many older fans will still speak of his great 30-yard goal against Manchester United, or his New Year’s Day 2001 strike against Southampton.
3. The ascent to captaincy, 2003
With nearly seven hundred appearances and one hundred eighty goals credited to him over these past seventeen seasons at Anfield, Steven Gerrard is widely considered a one-club player. However, despite his aggressive and passionate play for the Reds, the then twenty-three year old Gerrard humbly apologized when manager Gerard Houllier gave him the armband in place of Sami Hyypia and over other stars like Michael Owen and Jaime Carragher. For Gerrard, someone who grew up watching games in the Kop at Anfield, this was an achievement that seemed too fantastic to be real.
2. The Goal vs. Olympiakos
The 2004-05 UEFA Champions League provided plenty of memorable events. One of the most dramatic came in Liverpool’s group stage final match against Greece’s Olympiakos. Liverpool needed to beat the visiting Greeks by two to advance into the two-legged knockout stages for a greater Goals For count than their Greek opponent. Gerrard’s 86th minute volleyed goal caused one of the greatest goal calls in memory from Andy Gray. Anfield exploded into joyous roars as the Reds overcame Olympiakos 3-1.
1. The Miracle of Istanbul
Istanbul, Turkey would serve to be the venue for the 2004-05 UEFA Champions League final match between Liverpool and Italian powerhouse AC Milan. After one half of play, it didn’t even look close. The Rossoneri were in control 3-0. But Liverpool fought back in the second half, and captain Steven Gerrard began the improbable comeback with a headed goal from a John Arne Riise cross in the 54th minute. Liverpool would tie the game at 3 at full time, and would win the game on penalties as goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek would stop Andriy Shevchenko’s attempt. But the leadership and commitment from Liverpool’s captain earned Steven Gerrard Man of the Match honors.
Official Custom Jerseys and Memorabilia of Steven Gerrard available at World Soccer Shop.