Date: 5th January 2015 at 3:56pm
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All good things must come to an end. After 25 years at the club and 17 years in the first team Steven Gerrard will call time on his Liverpool career in May.

He will without doubt go down as one of the finest players In Premier League history so it’s no surprise that the tributes have come flooding in.

Many have focused on the extraordinary talent he has shown since he first stepped onto a football pitch.

Despite what one former manager might tell you, there can be no question that he is a top, top player.

Since making his debut in 1998 he’s been virtually ever present for the Reds playing in almost every position imaginable.

Starting as a defensive midfielder before playing in a more attacking position ahead of Didi Hamann, he then spent some time on the right wing under Rafa Benitez before playing just behind Fernando Torres as a support striker.

Recently we’ve seen him reinvent himself again and play as a deep lying playmaker fully showing off his range of passing to finish as the league’s leading assist provider last season.

Maybe he’d be a poor referee or would be no good in the commentary box, there must be something to do with football that he would struggle at.

But for all his undoubted ability that won’t be what I will remember when Stevie leaves.

I won’t even remember him for the spectacular goals he’s scored and there has been plenty of them.

180 goals in all at the time of writing and while more and more have come from the penalty spot lately he has scored more than enough screamers.

Long range piledrivers against Man United, Middlesbrough and Man City stick in the memory as do brilliant free kicks against Basel, Newcastle and Aston Villa.

Of course crucial goals scored against Olympiakos, West Ham and Milan in winning causes are fond memories but there is more to Stevie than just an eye for the spectacular.

Rival fans have popped up everywhere recently mocking Gerrard for a supposed lack of success.

These fans point to his costly slip against Chelsea last year or his misjudged header against Uruguay which effectively knocked England out of the World Cup in the summer.

Those with long memories might even bring up his freakish own goal in the 2005 League Cup final as evidence that Stevie bottled it on big occasions costing himself trophies.

The fact that so many opposition fans are piping up tells you everything you need to know about Gerrard’s legacy.

He was the man that every fan, teammate and manager looked to for a performance when it mattered most and more often than not he delivered.

Stevie has scored 19 goals in total against our two biggest rivals, nine against Man United and 10 against Everton, no wonder they can’t stand him.

He is also the only player to score in a League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup and Champions League Final.

The skipper didn’t falter on the big stage he thrived on it.

As for the talk of Stevie not winning any trophies, three league cups, two FA Cups, a UEFA Cup and of course one Champions League while playing in a mediocre team isn’t bad going.

On top of that he’s won numerous individual awards both at home and in Europe showing how highly thought of he is on the world stage.

Some people seem to think that the fact Stevie will finish without a Premier League winners medal somehow makes him less of a player.

This is absolute nonsense, almost like saying George Best wasn’t a great player because he never played in a World Cup.

Phil Neal, for instance, is our most decorated player but I doubt anybody would say he is in Liverpool’s all time top ten best players while Stevie’s place either at or very near the top of the tree is unquestioned.

We don’t remember great players by how full their trophy cabinet is.

Instead what I will remember most about Stevie is the unbridled passion he showed playing for the Reds.

Watching Stevie in a Red shirt was thrilling because you were watching a man fulfil his childhood dream on the pitch.

Not only was Stevie living his dream he was living the dream of every Kopite who’d ever imagined lifting trophies for Liverpool.

Even when he was tempted by Roman’s roubles it was ultimately his love for the Reds that kept him here.

If he owed us fans anything for his near treachery then he more than paid us back with man of the match performances in finals both in 2005 and 2006.

Stevie’s love for Liverpool has remained undimmed throughout his career and was clear after the final whistle against Man City last April.

When the ref called time the cameras panned straight to an emotional Stevie as he let out a cry of joy and relief.

The days leading up to the Hillsbrough anniversary are a poignant time for any Red but even more so for Stevie who tragically lost his ten year old cousin in the disaster.

With the Reds so close to winning the title he’d been working towards for years, he fought back tears as the emotion of the occasion threatened to overcome him and was able to deliver a rousing speech that to this day gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

That is how I will remember Stevie.

As a man who succeeded with breathtaking ability but even when he failed did so while giving everything in a red shirt.

A superstar who never forgot where he came from and understood what this club is about.

Our representative on the pitch who if he wasn’t out there playing would have been in the stands supporting the team with the same passion.

Stats will only tell you so much about a player, I feel privileged to have seen him play in a red shirt.

Thank you Stevie.


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