After thirty years, Liverpool are again champions of England, and there may be nobody for whom that wait has felt longer than Steven Gerrard. The former captain spent 17 seasons trying to break the title drought—coming up short three times.
In 2001-02 Liverpool followed up a treble-winning season by coming second in the league. In 2008-09 a dominant season and 86 points wasn’t enough. In 2013-14 it was second again with 84 points and one slip. All were painful near misses for Gerrard.
“For me it was fantastic to bury a few demons,” Gerrard told The Guardian this week about how he felt when Liverpool finally clinched the league title this year, a title that they will now receive their trophy for in a ceremony on The Kop tonight.
“Not all the demons but obviously it was certainly a big relief. Being a Liverpool fan and ex-player I’ve known the big, long wait and I’m still in touch with a lot of the players that are in that dressing room so a lot of them shared that pain with me.
“It was fantastic for everyone connected to the club but it was mixed emotions in many ways because of my own experiences. To be honest with you, I’m still on a really big high watching all of the TV coverage and seeing all of the emotions.”
While reports have fellow club legend Kenny Dalglish being involved in tonight’s trophy ceremony, there has been no hint that Gerrard could be in attendance—but one imagines that he will be watching and soaking in the emotions of it all.
Thirty years is a long time to wait. It’s even longer when you’ve spent much of your life as the homegrown club captain who spent his career trying to bring the league title back to Liverpool—and on three occasions coming up just short.
Tonight, that wait is over. For Gerrard and every Liverpool fan who will be watching along with him.