Steven Gerrard has declared himself fit and available for Liverpool's forthcoming trip to the Liberty Stadium, but still faces an uphill battle to find a place of his own among the Premier League's in-form team, a telling example of how the long-serving captain's final season has unfolded.
There was a time, and not too long ago, that Liverpool fans could not conceive life after Steven Gerrard, but in truth, it's become hard to see where the boyhood Red fits in his final months on Merseyside. It's not the fairytale ending that anyone expected for his final farewell, but Gerrard himself still sees the potential to end sixteen years of silver service on a positive note.
"I'm feeling good. I'm looking forward to the new challenge ahead after this season," Gerrard admitted during the press conference to promote his Anfield charity match, during which he and Jamie Carragher unveiled their All-Star team selections. "I've just got over a hamstring injury and I'm fit and available for the next game and I want to finish the season really strong. I want to leave the team in the top four and hopefully go all the way in the FA Cup. That will be how I want to sign off."
That would be an appropriate ending to his Liverpool career, regardless of how much he contributes between now and the season's end. Liverpool's 2006 FA Cup triumph over West Ham remains arguably his greatest game in red and the 'Get Gerrard to Wembley' campaign continues to gain traction. We know now that he will never be rewarded with the Premier League winner's medal that eluded him for his entire career, but lifting the FA Cup one last time - on his birthday, no less - is the culmination he deserves. An ugly farewell at the Britannia Stadium would do his career a disservice.