This time yesterday, most Liverpool fans assumed Steven Gerrard would retire a Red. Today, he’s set to head abroad, likely to MLS, to see out the final years of his playing career in a lesser league where he believes he can still make an impact while logging heavy minutes. Despite the rumours of his impending departure coming from reliable sources, many wanted to believe that things might not end this way. Because they shouldn’t have ended this way and didn’t have to.
Official confirmation from Gerrard and the club today, though, means that his career as a Red is going to end this way, and that he will not be a one-club man when he does eventually retire. Steven Gerrard is leaving Liverpool when his current contract expires, likely to head to the MLS, and he intends to sign a pre-contract agreement with what will be his new club before the month is out. This isn’t how the career of one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players should have ended. This is how it ends.
The Intertwined Legacy of Rodgers and Gerrard
News broke today that Steven Gerrard would be on his way to MLS at the end of the season, and despite feelings of inevitability, it's a move that could have been avoided.
"This has been the toughest decision of my life and one which both me and my family have agonised over," read a statement from the captain. "I am making the announcement now so that the manager and team are not distracted by stories or speculation about my future. Liverpool Football Club has been such a huge part of all our lives for so long and saying goodbye is difficult, but I feel it's something that's in the best interests of all involved, including my family and the club itself.
"I'm going to carry on playing and although I can't confirm at this stage where that will be, I can say it will be somewhere that means I won't be playing for a competing club and will not therefore be lining up against Liverpool—that is something I could never contemplate. My decision is completely based on my wish to experience something different in my career and life and I also want to make sure that I have no regrets when my playing career is eventually over."
From the outside, heading abroad to a league where he will play at least some of his matches on artificial turf in stadiums not built for football and in search of an MLS Cup for a club that likely won’t have existed when his playing career began seems an unsatisfying conclusion to that career. Hopefully, though, Gerrard will find whatever it is that he’s looking for, be it playing time or importance to a side or simply a new experience. And hopefully, in the end for him, that will be worth what he’s giving up.
This isn’t the way Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool career was supposed to end. This is the way Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool career ends. All the luck in the world to him in finding what it is he’s looking for, wherever it is he ends up moving on to.
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