The prolonged separation between Steven Gerrard and Liverpool has been a complex one. Having announced his planned departure back in January, the captain spent the final few months of his career on Merseyside caught between the continuation of his bumpy form and the realization that whatever he produced on the pitch--good, bad, or in-between--was a collector's item. That made it difficult to find a balance between being critical and still valuing his last few performances, as underwhelming as some of them, both individually and collectively, might have been.
Last weekend discarded any semblance of meaning to the on-pitch matters, though, as there was only emotion left to cling to as Liverpool let themselves and their captain down again in the 3-1 home loss to Crystal Palace. Like so many of his teammates, Gerrard was no great shakes on the day, but amongst the sadness and disappointment, there was genuine appreciation of what he'd offered Liverpool throughout his 17-year career.
Gerrard started to return that appreciation in earnest post-match, and on the official website he's continued to share his parting thoughts on the eve of Liverpool's final match of the season and, at least for now, Gerrard's career in Red:
"As I say, I've achieved every dream at Liverpool I could possibly want except the Premier League and I've come close on a couple of occasions. That's one regret that I will go away with, but as I say the other things that I've achieved and the milestones and becoming captain and stuff, they sort of help me to to live with the fact that I haven't got a Premier League winner's medal.
"When I got home and I knew that I was going to be the captain of Liverpool for the foreseeable future I felt like the luckiest man in the world. Growing up it was certainly something that I always strived for and wanted, and when I want something in football more often than not I get it. I've got 99 per cent of the things that I wanted from Liverpool. It's not a bad career to look back on."
There quite literally is nothing left for him to win at Liverpool other than a Premier League title, no finals left for him to score in. He's done it all other than the one regret he notes, and the finality of his goodbye tomorrow will be bittersweet. The finality of his exit likely won't sink in for some time, but hopefully Steven Gerrard's departure offers the chance for a new stage in his career and a new era for the club.
- Stoke City vs. Liverpool: Match Preview, Team News, and Ways to Watch
- Liverpool to Debut New Third Shirt in Season Finale Against Stoke City
- Manquillo Still Working Hard to Be Considered for Next Season
- Brendan Rodgers 150 Percent Certain of Liverpool Future
- Liverpool FC Transfer Rumours: Will James Milner Push Lucas Leiva Towards Serie A?