Many players come and go but very rarely does one stay for life. Yes there were many others including most recently Jamie Carragher but this is by no means disrespect to him or the others and what they did but one cannot deny that there is just something special about our number 8, our Captain, our Steven Gerrard!
My fondest memory of the great midfielder was against arch rivals Manchester United, a game that was played at Anfield in 2001, with United still being dominant in England it wasn't an easy fixture for Liverpool but they managed to win the game 2-0 with a young Steven Gerrard who wore the number 17 jersey at the time opening the scoring with a 30 yard screamer. Alex said after the game that the shot was unstoppable and that nobody could have saved it. Sure Stevie made big contributions before that game but it was that goal that announced him to the world as one to watch out for.
From there he grew in leaps and bounds with the team, etching himself as one of the greats to put on the red of Merseyside. When he took over the reigns as captain from Sami Hyypia, there was almost a sense of righteousness instead of doubt over the appointment of a youngster for such a big job. He has led Liverpool to many victories, none more special than that night in Istanbul when he help inspire a team who were down and out back to fight for victory. Not long before that he sent Anfield into a state of ecstasy with his late goal in the group stages of the Champions League to ensure Liverpool make it into the knock out stages.
His love for the club is undeniable and even when he had the chance to leave and join a Premiership winning team, he turned it down to stay on his ship as any good Captain will do. It hasn't been smooth sailing for him and some dub him as the best but unluckiest midfielder in the world. His quality is evident and for those who think otherwise are just bitter. The only accolades missing from his collection are the Premiership and World Cup, he has won every other competition there is, so to call him unlucky is questionable. He certainly doesn't have any regrets, hence he penned a new 2 year deal with the club. As always we as the supporters wait with baited breath in the transfer window to see which future stars we sign but this is our biggest signing of the summer.
This past weekend, a testimonial was held in his honour against Olympiacos, a team which he has fond memories off, as mentioned earlier it was against this team in the 2004/2005 season that he rocketed home a low volley to qualify Liverpool to the next round of the Champions League, which they ultimately ended up winning. It wasn't your regular testimonial as Stevie wanted to use this game as preparation for the season ahead, so only two ex players were invited, that being Jamie Carragher and another legend, Robbie Fowler. All proceeds from the game which was a sell out went to the Steven Gerrard foundation, they managed to raise in excess of a million pounds. Liverpool won the friendly 2-0 with goals coming from youngsters Joe Allen and Jordon Henderson, both of whom, under the guidance of Gerrard could be future midfield heroes for the club.
There's not enough words I can use to some up Gerrard, personally he has inspired me a lot in life. His perseverance, his composure and his commitment are something that we can all learn from. There is no such thing as a lost cause for him and he will give everything a fighting chance, which is why every Liverpool jersey I buy, I put his name on the back, because to me, its more than just a name.
You'll Never Walk Alone