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A Steven Gerrard Appreciation

Ahead of the captain's testimonial against Olympiakos tomorrow, we take some time to celebrate our favorite memories of Steven Gerrard.

Alex Livesey

**Our writers were kind enough to contribute a bit on what Steven Gerrard means to them, and each are included here. You're encouraged to add your own in the comments section, which is going to be reserved solely for Gerrard-related discussion. No threadjacks, no comment diversions, no BREAKING!!!1!! tweets. Steven Gerrard appreciation, folks. Get on board.**

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Ed: I'm not being dramatic when I say that Steven Gerrard is the reason I started following Liverpool, which I'd imagine is the case for many folks who hadn't grown up following the sport. I only started following world football around 2002, which was mostly a passing interest in the World Cup, and over the next four years I watched only here and there. In 2006 I got sucked in completely, first after seeing highlights of the FA Cup Final, and then throughout the summer watching the World Cup with my roommate. We decided we'd give the Premier League a try, and after spending way too many hours playing an outdated version of FIFA, we settled on Gerrard's Liverpool. From there, it was mostly settled.

Over the past seven years I've been fortunate to follow Liverpool more closely than I could have imagined, spurred on by a hobby that's become much larger than I originally intended. Steven Gerrard's been there at every stop along the way, and while I missed out on his most influential trophy-winning moments, I'm still hopeful that there's more to come for him. It will likely be in a more reduced capacity as he gets older, but from a Liverpool supporter's perspective, there are few more deserving than the captain.

The video that, for me, got it all started:

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Trev: From his post earlier today--Gerrard is the embodiment of that fighting spirit that makes fans believe; that allows them to dream. At times he has shouldered that burden heavily, plagued by his own anxieties, but he has never failed to show the kind of pride in his position that all supporters can relate to. His brilliance has made us greedy. We want to see him pull off last-ditch sliding tackles after lung-bursting runs, we crave the magical passes only he can produce and most of all we desire the majestic goals that have become the trademark of this most unique of talents. We have been lucky to witness the career of Steven Gerrard thus far. It would be typical of the man's immaculate sense of timing and outrageous talent to have saved maybe the biggest highlights for the final years of his Anfield playing days. We can dream. Steven Gerrard has shown us how.

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Elizabeth: As the newest fan amongst the contributors here, my Gerrard memories hardly rival what everyone else has likely mentioned. I haven't had the privilege of seeing him play for the majority of his career, nor was I fortunate enough to watch Gerrard carry his club to victory first in the 2005 Champions League Final and then the following year in the 2006 FA Cup Final. It's that same determination and Stevie's singular ability to inspire his teammates through his own actions that were on display in those matches, and it's those same qualities that permeate my favourite Stevie moments.

I've spoken previously about becoming a fan during the dark days of Roy Hodgson, but in spite of this my earliest fond memory of Stevie is from the away match against Manchester United that season. There's no need to rehash the dire position the club was in at the time, and after 59' minutes Liverpool were down 2-0 thanks to a pair of Dimitar Berbatov goals. Did this stop our Captain Fantastic? Of course not; five minutes after Berbatov's second, Stevie scored one and then equalized six minutes later. It was ultimately Berbatov and not Gerrard who ended up with the hat trick on the day, but despite the loss I remember coming away feeling like it was a great match and that it was a fabulous performance by the captain.

I put a lot of stock into supporting players who conduct themselves in a principled way, those who have what Trev likes to call "moral courage". I care about what they do on the pitch, and I care about how they conduct themselves off the pitch. Stevie's been an excellent servant to the club in both areas, and has thus paved his way to be an excellent ambassador for the club in the future. We may be celebrating his testimonial, and we may only have a few seasons left, but Gerrard still has a long history ahead of him with this club. Thank you for your contributions thus far, my captain, and thank you for all the contributions you still have left to make.

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Jake: There's been a lot of talk in these parts about players who deserve to play in the Champions League. Players who've, frankly, accomplished very little. The word 'deserve' gets thrown around quite flippantly these days, it seems. To deserve something you have to do something, not be something. There is one player, though, who does actually deserve to be playing in the Champions League: Steven Gerrard. Liverpool's absence from the tournament since 2009 is clearly a pain nagging at all of us, but Gerrard's absence from the tournament since 2009 is a tragedy for all of world football. You can see it eating away at Stevie, too, you can see it in his face. Steven Gerrard was made for European football, and European football for him. We haven't seen superman Gerrard in a few years-probably not since he single-handedly beat Napoli in 2010-but we know he's in there somewhere, waiting. For the sake of this colossus of a player, who's become a colossus of a man as well, let us pray to Fowler that we get back to the holy grail of European football before it's too late, so we can all experience Gerrard in all his glory.

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Video by Steven Halliwell

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