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Mr Liverpool: Steven Gerrard
With the January transfer window fast approaching there will soon be a whole host of players from a whole host of clubs in the Premier League moving on to pastures new, with some players only managing a season or two at a club before looking for the next big pay day or a clean slate after failing to make an impact with their previous employers.
Stevie G has been through a lot at Liverpool over the years, seeing numerous players, managers and owners come and go. But through all the bad times, all the turmoil at the club, Gerrard has remained loyal to the team he supported as a young boy and is now part of a select group of players to have only played for one club their entire career. Joining the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes at Manchester United, Paolo Maldini of AC Milan and fellow Liverpool team mate Jamie Carragher.
Gerrard joined the Liverpool academy at the age of nine but then had trials with other clubs, including Manchester United although in 2006 he stated in his autobiography that this was to pressure Liverpool into giving him a Youth Training Scheme.
The midfielder made his debut for the club on 29th November 1998, in a Premier League match against Blackburn Rovers as a last minute substitute for Vegard Heggem. He made thirteen appearances for the club that season, filling in for injured club captain Jamie Redknapp in centre-midfield.
The Liverpool hierarchy were convinced Gerrard was a player that would prosper at Anfield and he began to regularly partner Redknapp in central midfield for the 1999-2000 season. After starting the Everton derby on the bench, he replaced Robbie Fowler in the second half but received the first red card of his career after a late challenge on Kevin Campbell. Later that season Gerrard went on to score his first senior goal for the club in a 4-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday. In the 2000-2001 season Gerrard made fifty starts in all competitions for Liverpool, scoring ten goals in the process as he won his first major trophies with the club, the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup.
After a year as Liverpool vice-captain Gerrard replaced Sami Hyypia as club captain in 2003 and signed a new four-year deal to stay at Anfield. Coach Gerard Houllier resigned as Liverpool manager after a trophyless 2003-2004 campaign. Gerrard was then linked with a move to Chelsea after saying:
‘For the first time in my career I’ve thought about moving on.’
Although he turned down the £20 million offer from the London club and chose to stay and work with new manager Rafael Benitez.
In the 2004-2005 season Liverpool made it to the Champions League final’s and after being 3-0 down managed to level the score to 3-3 with a flourish of goals in six minutes, with Gerrard netting one and drawing the foul for the penalty that made it 3-3. The match went into extra-time and then penalties in which Gerrard didn’t participate but Liverpool won to lift the Champions League for the first time in twenty years. Gerrard was named man of the match and later won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award.
The Liverpool midfielder was once again linked with a move to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at the end of the season and was thought to be on the verge of joined the Blues before he agreed to sign a new four-year deal with the club.
In the 2005-2006 season Steven Gerrard scored 23 goals in 53 appearances and became the first Liverpool player since John Barnes to be voted PFA Player of the Year. He scored twice the in FA Cup Final against West Ham as Liverpool went on to win their second successive major trophy on penalties. The Next season Liverpool knocked out rivals Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals to make it to their second final in three seasons, which they lost 2-1 to AC Milan.
Gerrard made his 400th appearance for Liverpool against Arsenal in 2007, a game in which he scored. He then went on to become the first Liverpool player since John Aldridge to score in Seven consecutive games in all competitions.
He scored his 100th goal for the club in a 3-1 win over PSV in the Champions League group stage in the 2008-2009 season and following impressive wins over Real Madrid and Manchester United Gerrard received plaudits from players and managers alike, With Zinedine Zidane:
Gerrard was named FWA Footballer of the Year at the end of that season, saying he was a little surprised at receiving the award as there was so much talent in the Premier League.
Following the 2009-2010 season Rafael Benitez resigned as Liverpool manager after six years in charge with Roy Hodgson taking over, Gerrard moved once again to state his intention to stay at the club and that he was looking forward to working with the new manager.
Gerrard missed the start of the 2011–2012 season due to groin injury, which had kept him out of action for large parts of the 2010–2011 season as well
Earlier this year Gerrard helped Liverpool to their first cup final in six years by beating Manchester City 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals. Gerrard scored a penalty in both legs to send the Reds to the final at Wembley against Cardiff City, which Liverpool went on to win on penalties. Gerrard made his 400th Premier League match for Liverpool one to remember by scoring a hat-trick against rivals Everton.
The only regret Steven Gerrard may have after staying with Liverpool his entire career is that he never got to lift the Premier League trophy, something he would of likely done had he joined Chelsea when they came calling in 2004 and 2005. But Liverpool fans will be grateful that their captain and talisman chose to remain at Anfield and is still pushing for success for the club he loves so dearly.
Do you think Steven Gerrard has done the right thing for his career by staying at Liverpool when other opportunities were available?
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